Nothing But Reading Challenges discussion

At the Water's Edge
This topic is about At the Water's Edge
549 views
Previous BOMs - Authors; E - H > At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen (Anything Goes BOM) Starts July 12, 2016

Comments Showing 1-50 of 66 (66 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new) - added it

Moderators of NBRC | 31366 comments Mod


This topic is to discuss At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen. Be prepared for spoilers!

Synopsis:

After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind.

To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war.

Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants.

The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love.


message 2: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Jun 18, 2016 05:47PM) (new) - added it

Moderators of NBRC | 31366 comments Mod
What is a BOM (Book of the Month)?

At NRBC we use a more structured approach to our BOMs. We have a discussion leader and a reading date is set to start the book. A reading schedule is posted prior to the start date and discussion questions are posted each day regarding that section of the book.

More info under spoiler
(view spoiler)


message 3: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Jul 19, 2016 07:48PM) (new) - added it

Moderators of NBRC | 31366 comments Mod
Chapter Breakdown



Date Chapters Pages PPQDs

12 July 1-6 1-57 Karrie
13 July 7-14 58-118 Andrea Amanda
14 July 15-22 119-183 Melissa
***BREAK DAY***
16 July 23-31 184-246 Amanda
17 July 32-38 247-296 Melissa
18 July 39-end 297-348 (end) Melissa




DQ volunteers:
Karrie
Andrea
Melissa


message 4: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Jun 18, 2016 05:48PM) (new) - added it

Moderators of NBRC | 31366 comments Mod
Ruby Coin Book of the Month ~ Ruby Coin Ruby Coin

How to Earn:
Ruby Coin 1 Ruby Coin for half DQ participation
Ruby Coin 1 Ruby Coin for Writing Disscussion Questions
Ruby Coin 1 Ruby Coin for completing ALL days DQs within month of BOM start
Example of ways to Earn Ruby Coins: (view spoiler)

Learn about Gem coins here


Melissa | 3007 comments I'm in for this one. :) I'll do DQs


message 6: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14708 comments Mod
I'll be reading this, but I'll be on holidays, so not sure I'll be able to participate in the discussion


Kay Kay | 1794 comments I'm in for this one. I would have to do questions on the 12 13 or 14 though.


Aleah (aleah_reads) | 9 comments I'd like to read this one! I'll participate in as many discussion questions as I can.


message 9: by Elisha (new)

Elisha (bookjunkiemom) | 2 comments Loving the cover and synopsis. Although I promised I wouldn't buy any books for a couple weeks so I am not sure I can participate this time.


Amy the book-bat (batkisses) | 822 comments A friend of mine gave me her copy when she was finished with it, so I will probably read along with the group.


message 11: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Abicic | 1 comments I'll do DQs. Never done it before but I'll try.


Tamara I have this book on my "to read stack" for quite some time so I'll be happy to join this round as my first reading challenge here :) I will be on holiday during this time but will make sure to engage in discussions as much as possible.


message 13: by Nora (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nora | 22 comments I'd like to join in the discussion. I'm new to the group and this will be my first book of the month!


Melissa | 3007 comments Welcome everyone!

If you need me to do multiple DQ's I will. :)


message 15: by Cat (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cat Bryson (_cat_) | 5 comments This sounds like a book I would enjoy, but might not read on my own. This is the first time I'm participating and I'm excited to try it out!


message 16: by Laurie (new) - added it

Laurie Carlson (lauriehere) | 3 comments Hi Everyone!
Count me IN on this one, PLEASE!!! This will be my FIRST TIME doing a Book Discussion with all of you and I'm excited!!! I'll be advertising this on my blog TODAY! (Sat July 9th!)
Question: When do we discuss each day's reading? EACH DAY???
OR is it saved until we FINISH the book?
Thanks for your help!
Laurie


Chris (cdavies1951) | 2192 comments Oh I loved this book - read it in my local library book club. It was such an interesting read - I'd love to join the discussion.


Amanda (daughterofoak) | 3473 comments Laurie wrote: "Question: When do we discuss each day's reading? EACH DAY???
OR is it saved until we FINISH the book?.."


There will be an ongoing discussion and new questions each day. You can answer as many or as few of the discussion questions as you'd like.

Thanks for joining us! :)


Amanda (daughterofoak) | 3473 comments Date Chapters Pages PPQDs
12 July --Karrie
13 July --Andrea
14 July --Melissa
***BREAK DAY***
16 July --Amanda
17 July --Melissa
18 July -- (end) ??


How does this look to everyone? Let me know if you'd like a different day.
Would anyone be interested in the last day of DQ's?


Kay Kay | 1794 comments Here we go!


Melissa | 3007 comments Looks good to me - if no one else I can do the last day.


Kay Kay | 1794 comments Chapters 1 - 5

1. Have you ever read anything else by Sara Gruen? If so did you like it?

2. This book has a mysterious beginning! It seems to me that it is a dead end, but we know that can't be the case. Any guesses about how the family might fit into the rest of the story?

3. Why do you think Maddie is sick? Is it simple sea and car sickness or something else?

4. Are you or do you know anyone who is color blind?

5. Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster, or the possibility of a Loch Ness monster?

6. How are you liking the book so far? Are you drawn into the story? I am excited. I like her writing style and I like this period in history, so I think it will be a good read.


Chris (cdavies1951) | 2192 comments 1. Have you ever read anything else by Sara Gruen? If so did you like it? I hadn't read any of her books prior to this one, but afterwards, I was inspired to read Water for Elephants.

2. This book has a mysterious beginning! It seems to me that it is a dead end, but we know that can't be the case. Any guesses about how the family might fit into the rest of the story? I thought this was an interesting beginning - not what I expected.

3. Why do you think Maddie is sick? Is it simple sea and car sickness or something else? Didn't know.

4. Are you or do you know anyone who is color blind? I had a good friend who was color blind and he numbered his clothes so that he knew what would match. I thought he was so clever, but it seems his mother was the clever one.

5. Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster, or the possibility of a Loch Ness monster? No. I didn't and I don't, but the anything is possible.

6. How are you liking the book so far? Are you drawn into the story? I am excited. I like her writing style and I like this period in history, so I think it will be a good read. I like her style!


message 24: by Nora (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nora | 22 comments 1. Have you ever read anything else by Sara Gruen? If so did you like it?
Yes, I read Water for Elephants which I found it beautiful.

2. This book has a mysterious beginning! It seems to me that it is a dead end, but we know that can't be the case. Any guesses about how the family might fit into the rest of the story?
The family obvisouly lived by the Loch, probably even the town that the three are going to. I wonder if it will be something for Maddie to learn about a woman who loved so deeply that she perished so soon after her husband. Maddie and Ellis's relationship seems more about fun and parties so I wonder what she would think about that.

3. Why do you think Maddie is sick? Is it simple sea and car sickness or something else?
It makes sense that she could be sick if she'd never traveled by boat but I immediately thought she was pregnant.

4. Are you or do you know anyone who is color blind?
I am not and don't have anyone close to me who is.

5. Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster, or the possibility of a Loch Ness monster?
I like to believe that there is more to our world that we can't fathom, so I like to think there is such a monster.

6. How are you liking the book so far? Are you drawn into the story?
I like the time period; during world war II when so much would change and for it to be about privileged children who have a lot to learn about the world outside their bubble. I also very much like how Sara Gruen writes so I am enjoying it and can't wait to see what happens.


message 25: by Cat (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cat Bryson (_cat_) | 5 comments Chapters 1 - 5

1. Have you ever read anything else by Sara Gruen? If so did you like it?
-I have never read any of her books before.

2. This book has a mysterious beginning! It seems to me that it is a dead end, but we know that can't be the case. Any guesses about how the family might fit into the rest of the story?
-I was wondering the same thing! The timelines seem very similar and I wonder if Maddie will befriend the woman and go searching for her.

3. Why do you think Maddie is sick? Is it simple sea and car sickness or something else?
-At first I thought she was just having a rough time with the journey because I know at that time there was not much you could do for seasickness. The fact that it still is effecting her made my mind go directly to a possible pregnancy.

4. Are you or do you know anyone who is color blind?
-I have never met anyone who is color blind.

5. Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster, or the possibility of a Loch Ness monster?
-I think that there might have been a large animal living in the Loch that has yet to be discovered, although I wouldn't call it a monster.

6. How are you liking the book so far? Are you drawn into the story? I am really enjoying it!! It has drawn me in faster than I expected. I find her writing style to be a fast read for me and look forward to continuing the story. I may have to check out some of her other books as well after this one!


Molly (mollyrotondo) | 135 comments Chapters 1 - 5

1. Have you ever read anything else by Sara Gruen? If so did you like it?

I have not read anything by Sara Gruen, but I am now interested in reading Water for Elephants.

2. This book has a mysterious beginning! It seems to me that it is a dead end, but we know that can't be the case. Any guesses about how the family might fit into the rest of the story?

I loved this opening! It was beautifully written. I think Maddie will discover something about the woman from the other residents of this town they are visiting.

3. Why do you think Maddie is sick? Is it simple sea and car sickness or something else?

I hope it is just simple sea and car sickness, but, like others have said above, it's probably a pregnancy.

4. Are you or do you know anyone who is color blind?

I knew a priest that was color blind at the church I used to attend as a kid.

5. Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster, or the possibility of a Loch Ness monster?

I love supernatural mysteries. I found them so fascinating. I don't know if I believe it actually exists, but I consider the possibility.

6. How are you liking the book so far? Are you drawn into the story? I am excited. I like her writing style and I like this period in history, so I think it will be a good read.

I am really enjoying it so far. I like that it is written with some humor. I like how the characters are so carefree.


Michelle's Empty Nest (mlundy5) Chapters 1 - 5

1. Have you ever read anything else by Sara Gruen? If so did you like it?
I read Water for Elephants when it came out and it still remains one of my all-time favorites! Awesome book!!!

2. This book has a mysterious beginning! It seems to me that it is a dead end, but we know that can't be the case. Any guesses about how the family might fit into the rest of the story?
I had no idea.

3. Why do you think Maddie is sick? Is it simple sea and car sickness or something else?
I was wondering if she might be pregnant???

4. Are you or do you know anyone who is color blind?
No, not that I'm aware of.

5. Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster, or the possibility of a Loch Ness monster?
Nah. If it existed, surely they would have found it by now, right?

6. How are you liking the book so far? Are you drawn into the story? I am excited. I like her writing style and I like this period in history, so I think it will be a good read.
Loving it so far! I totally agree with your thoughts!


Tamara 1. Have you ever read anything else by Sara Gruen? If so did you like it?

I read Water for Elephants and to be honest, I didn't like it that much. I found her language not easy in that book and I never really got into the flow.

2. This book has a mysterious beginning! It seems to me that it is a dead end, but we know that can't be the case. Any guesses about how the family might fit into the rest of the story?

I really liked the prologue, it has drawn me into the book immediately! I think Mairi died and the three will discover something about her death or her background story which will help them to either prove or disprove the existence of the Monster of Loch Ness.

3. Why do you think Maddie is sick? Is it simple sea and car sickness or something else?

First, while reading the actual chapter, I thought about sea/car sickness. But after Ellis' mother mentioned her waiting for Maddie's pregnancy, it might be that.

4. Are you or do you know anyone who is color blind?
I do know someone but never talked to him about it. Maybe it is time now, after reading the book :)

5. Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster, or the possibility of a Loch Ness monster?

No, I definitely don't. I am not someone who believes in the supernatural without real evidence and so far there is non for the Loch Ness Monster. I am really eager to learn if/how they prove or disprove its existence.

6. How are you liking the book so far? Are you drawn into the story? I am excited. I like her writing style and I like this period in history, so I think it will be a good read.

I was a bit sceptical before starting the book, as I did not like Water for Elephants that much. But it is a much easier read and I finished today's chapters really quickly so I am looking forward to the rest of the story!


Keisha Bell-Kovacs "Chapters 1 - 5

1. Have you ever read anything else by Sara Gruen? If so did you like it?
I haven't read anything by Sara Gruen, although I saw the movie 'Water for Elephants' and enjoyed it.

2. This book has a mysterious beginning! It seems to me that it is a dead end, but we know that can't be the case. Any guesses about how the family might fit into the rest of the story?
I'm guessing it has something to do with the inn they have checked into in the Highlands, maybe a character that is associated with it.

3. Why do you think Maddie is sick? Is it simple sea and car sickness or something else?
My first guess is that she's pregnant, but it could easily be seasickness or something else, given the era in which the story takes place. People seemed to get sick a lot.

4. Are you or do you know anyone who is color blind? I do know someone who is color blind. It's interesting how embarrassing that simple fact is for Ellis' family, because it prevents him from fighting in the war, but it's not an obvious reason to an outsider, so it looks bad for him and Maddie.

5. Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster, or the possibility of a Loch Ness monster? Truthfully I don't, but then again anything is possible.

6.How are you liking the book so far? Are you drawn into the story? It's a light read, which is great for the summer, and it's nice to be able to move quickly through the story. I am quite drawn in, I think the author has left enough threads dangling that I'm very curious to see how they get woven into the story.


message 30: by Aleah (last edited Jul 12, 2016 02:53PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Aleah (aleah_reads) | 9 comments 1. Have you ever read anything else by Sara Gruen? If so did you like it?
I haven't read a book by Sara Gruen, but I probably will after this one.

2. This book has a mysterious beginning! It seems to me that it is a dead end, but we know that can't be the case. Any guesses about how the family might fit into the rest of the story?
I think each person of the family will contribute to Maddie's learnings of the new life she is thrown into.

3. Why do you think Maddie is sick? Is it simple sea and car sickness or something else?
I think Maddie is partially sick because of difficult things she witnesses on the boat over to Scotland. This sickness continues to linger because Maddie isn't able to find comfort in her usual things. She's in a place where she doesn't feel comfortable, and her husband and best friend keep running off and leaving her alone to cope independently, which doesn't seem like something Maddie is use to.

4. Are you or do you know anyone who is color blind?
I don't know anyone who is color blind.

5. Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster, or the possibility of a Loch Ness monster?
I would love it if the Lock Ness monster was real! I tend to be a bit "I'll believe it when I see it" though.

6. How are you liking the book so far? Are you drawn into the story? I am excited. I like her writing style and I like this period in history, so I think it will be a good read.
I was pretty drawn to the story right when I started. I do like the time period it's set in, and how it focuses on the war, but draws you into a different story line as well.


message 31: by Laurie (new) - added it

Laurie Carlson (lauriehere) | 3 comments Amanda wrote: "Laurie wrote: "Question: When do we discuss each day's reading? EACH DAY???
OR is it saved until we FINISH the book?.."

There will be an ongoing discussion and new questions each day. You can answ..."


Hi Amanda! Thanks for explaining to me how this works! I am REALLY looking forward to starting this tonight! I am behind ONE day! I'll catch up tonight, for sure! I also see several sets of questions about chapters 1 to 5, too! This is going to be FUN!!! I'm REALLY GLAD we chose THIS BOOK, too! Okay, off to read now! Thanks again, too!
Laurie


message 32: by Ivy (new) - added it

Ivy | 1 comments I am in I just started last night . You guys read fast !


Amanda (daughterofoak) | 3473 comments I think Andrea didn't get my message so I'm going to leave a few questions here and she can take one of the other DQ days if she'd like.

Questions and Comments for July 13
Chapters 7- 14

1) What is your opinion of each of the characters so far? Do any of them stand out to you?

2) I couldn't believe that Hank and Ellis left Maddie alone with no note, no ration book, and no idea if she would be allowed to stay in the inn. Were you surprised by their treatment?

3) Ellis' drinking and episodes of anger don't seem to be anything new to Hank and Maddie. Do you think this is a symptom of a larger problem?



Keisha Bell-Kovacs 1) What is your opinion of each of the characters so far? Do any of them stand out to you?

We are really starting to get a picture of who Ellis is at this point. The first few chapters hinted at his abuse of prescription drugs, and now we see his drinking come out, which brings out his anger. Anna, who works at the inn has no patience with the wealthy set, and is clearly resentful of Maddie, but Meg is prepared to teach her how to function on her own, as this seems to be the first time she has no servants to help her. The hair situation is quite funny. Hank seems to be a player, but he is kind to Maddie, and Angus is still an unknown factor.

2) I couldn't believe that Hank and Ellis left Maddie alone with no note, no ration book, and no idea if she would be allowed to stay in the inn. Were you surprised by their treatment?
It didn't surprise me that Ellis did it, but definitely Hank - I thought he was soft on Maddie. He certainly stands up for her when Ellis becomes abusive.

3) Ellis' drinking and episodes of anger don't seem to be anything new to Hank and Maddie. Do you think this is a symptom of a larger problem? Absolutely, Ellis is a lost man - disowned by his father, unable to 'be a man' by fighting in the war. This adventure is all he has to establish himself. Right now he is clearly filled with self-loathing, which he takes out on his wife.


message 35: by Nora (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nora | 22 comments Questions and Comments for July 13
Chapters 7- 14

1) What is your opinion of each of the characters so far? Do any of them stand out to you?

Ellis is the one who is worrisome to me. He is addicted to Maddie's pills and obviously does a lot of drinking with that comes a dark side that is frightening. I also feel there is something going on with Ellis and Hank as if they dont want Maddie to be apart of the Monster finding. Before they came to the loch the three of them were inseparable but now they try to always leave Maddie out. I like Meg a lot, she may not be a huge fan of the boys but she is kind to Maddie and helping her function in her new reality. I can already see Maddie evolving; from the spoiled socialite to someone more aware of the world outside her bubble. I am excited to see her evolution more.

2) I couldn't believe that Hank and Ellis left Maddie alone with no note, no ration book, and no idea if she would be allowed to stay in the inn. Were you surprised by their treatment?

I was surprised at the extent of it. I thought they might leave her alone for the day again but never thought they would leave for two days straight with no way for her to eat. It speaks volumes about how little Ellis truly does care for Maddie as he left her in a place that for all good reason she could have been thrown out of.

3) Ellis' drinking and episodes of anger don't seem to be anything new to Hank and Maddie. Do you think this is a symptom of a larger problem?

Absolutely. Ellis was a sheltered boy who I'm sure from birth had a path planned out for him but then with the news of him being unable to serve the path was gone. He doesn't feel like a man and hates himself for it so he drowns all that emotion into liquor and pills which never turns out well.


Molly (mollyrotondo) | 135 comments Questions and Comments for July 13
Chapters 7- 14

1) What is your opinion of each of the characters so far? Do any of them stand out to you?

Ellis is such a jerk. I like him at the beginning of the story, and even felt sorry for him. Now he is starting to show his true self. He drinks too much and clearly has an addiction to Maddie's pills. He was so disrespectful to Maddie in this action that he looked so unsympathetic. I really liked the relationship between Ellis, Maddie, and Hank at the beginning, but now I find both Ellis and Hank to be selfish and self-destructive. I do like the relationship growing between Maddie and Meg though. I think Meg will development into an interesting character.

2) I couldn't believe that Hank and Ellis left Maddie alone with no note, no ration book, and no idea if she would be allowed to stay in the inn. Were you surprised by their treatment?

I really didn't think they would do such a thing to Maddie. Both Ellis and Hank proved that they are very immature which will most likely lead them into trouble.

3) Ellis' drinking and episodes of anger don't seem to be anything new to Hank and Maddie. Do you think this is a symptom of a larger problem?

Ellis feels worthless right now because he cannot serve in the war, but he has probably felt rejection from his father the Colonel for most of his life. Hopefully we will learn even more about his past like we did in this section about Maddie's anxiety.


message 37: by Clare (new)

Clare Butler | 294 comments 1. Have you ever read anything else by Sara Gruen? If so did you like it?

I know she wrote 'Water for Chocolate' but I haven't read it

2. This book has a mysterious beginning! It seems to me that it is a dead end, but we know that can't be the case. Any guesses about how the family might fit into the rest of the story?

It seemed totally disjointed to the rest of the story. Perhaps they find her body in the loch?

3. Why do you think Maddie is sick? Is it simple sea and car sickness or something else?

I suppose she could be pregnant but I am not sure what that would add to the story at this stage.

4. Are you or do you know anyone who is color blind?

My dad is colour blind in that he can't see the difference between red and green but not to the extent that Ellis is. It must be so hard only to see grey, black and white.

5. Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster, or the possibility of a Loch Ness monster? 

No, logically it can't be true or the monster wild have multiplied so much by now that there would be loads of them or it would have died off years ago. Maybe there was something large in there once.

6. How are you liking the book so far? Are you drawn into the story? I am excited. I like her writing style and I like this period in history, so I think it will be a good read. 

I'm not sure what I think so far. I don't particularly like the characters at the moment and the story seems a bit trivial in the middle of the war but I am hoping that his all develops as the story goes on.


Tamara As I was, so far, not able to read one single page today, I will start with answering yesterday's questions and then quickly start with reading today's chapters :)

1) What is your opinion of each of the characters so far? Do any of them stand out to you?

Although I like the book so far, I am not rooting for any character. The three travelers are so spoiled, I almost can not stand it. Maddie is getting a bit better after each chapter, mainly with the help from Meg (which I like so far the best, although we don't know much about her). Ellis and his behaviour are truly worrisome and I don't think that he and Maddie are that happy. And although I like how Hank treats Maddie, I think he can be a real jerk to others (not mentioning his girlfriend, who had to stay at home).

2) I couldn't believe that Hank and Ellis left Maddie alone with no note, no ration book, and no idea if she would be allowed to stay in the inn. Were you surprised by their treatment?

First I was surprised but considering the following chapters I wasn't. Ellis and Hank are here to have fun and not to care for Maddie, who is still sick. What really surprised me was her fear of being abandoned. That seemed a bit overreacted for me but might be some underlying fear? Maybe based on experience?

3) Ellis' drinking and episodes of anger don't seem to be anything new to Hank and Maddie. Do you think this is a symptom of a larger problem?

It depends on what we mean by larger problem. I think that he has a big character problem - he is spoiled, used to get what he wants and now the plan does not work out like he wants. I think that is his biggest problem at the moment and he tries to solve it with drugs and drinking. Maybe you can see that I really don't like him ;)


message 39: by Cat (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cat Bryson (_cat_) | 5 comments 1) What is your opinion of each of the characters so far? Do any of them stand out to you?

I think the characters are really starting to take shape now. I thought that I was going to really enjoy reading about Maddy and Ellis, however, Ellis is turing out to be a very selfish character. He leaves Maddie alone and goes off with Hank for two days! Then comes back and pretends that he did it FOR her! I think that Maddie was a naive young woman, who is starting to get the bigger picture (I Hope). I LOVE Meg and think that she will be a great friend to Maddie. The verdict is still out on Hank. He has Maddie's back on the one hand, but also left her alone with no food or money.

2) I couldn't believe that Hank and Ellis left Maddie alone with no note, no ration book, and no idea if she would be allowed to stay in the inn. Were you surprised by their treatment?

I was completely shocked! The night before Ellis and Maddie spent the night together and she told him that she wanted to be included in their outings. The next morning she wakes up alone, to no note, with no ration book or knowledge of when her husband will be back.

3) Ellis' drinking and episodes of anger don't seem to be anything new to Hank and Maddie. Do you think this is a symptom of a larger problem?

I think Ellis is a drunk and a drug addict. I think that he is running away from himself and his troubles. He cannot keep it together and keeps flip-flopping between believing his father and calling him a liar. I think that Maddie is starting to see what a problem her husband has as well. I hope that she does not allow him to treat her like garbage for the rest of the book.


Aleah (aleah_reads) | 9 comments Chapters 7- 14

1) What is your opinion of each of the characters so far? Do any of them stand out to you?

Maddie is the character that stands out most to me, which makes sense since we are seeing the story through her eyes. I think that she is heading into a lot of life changes that she might not feel ready for. In the beginning of the story, I thought Ellis and Maddie were a great match, but their relationship seems to be changing. I don't think this has to do with Ellis' personality as much as it does with Maddie's changing views. She's slowly becoming more independent, and is finding Ellis' ways a bit more annoying than before, because she doesn't need him as much.

2) I couldn't believe that Hank and Ellis left Maddie alone with no note, no ration book, and no idea if she would be allowed to stay in the inn. Were you surprised by their treatment?

I was very surprised when Maddie woke up the next morning and Ellis and Hank were gone, especially since Ellis invited Maddie to join them the next day. I didn't believe that they had not left a note, that seemed unlikely and I was sure it was a mistake, but the ration book couldn't be helped since it didn't seem that they had them in the first place. Maddie was just lucky that Meg likes her and gives her a decent amount of food.

3) Ellis' drinking and episodes of anger don't seem to be anything new to Hank and Maddie. Do you think this is a symptom of a larger problem?

I think Ellis' drinking is somewhat of a result of his need for acceptance. His father highly disapproves of Ellis' life choices, and it seems that Ellis values his fathers opinion very much. He also cares greatly about how other judge him and this just adds on to the stress. I think that he gets to a certain point where he believes the best release from this stress is alcohol.


Michaela (mdambrosio) | 1 comments Questions and Comments for July 13
Chapters 7- 14
(Sorry for writing in on break day - just needed to catch up, and figured I would just start with this section of the novel!)

1) What is your opinion of each of the characters so far? Do any of them stand out to you?

The novel's main protagonist, Madeline, is the driving force in this story. Although she gets dragged along and it seems Ellis and Hank make most of the decisions, it is clear to me that Madeline will take hold of her own future (somehow) on this quest to find the Loch Ness monster. Part of the beauty and frustration with Gruen's writing style is the elusive character development; we only see certain sides of the characters until they are fully revealed. Agreeing with what others have noted, I think there is much more to the background than we currently have been shown.

2) I couldn't believe that Hank and Ellis left Maddie alone with no note, no ration book, and no idea if she would be allowed to stay in the inn. Were you surprised by their treatment?

Unfortunately, looking at characters like Ellis and Hank and expecting them to behave in any other way would almost be unfair. Both boys were "Harvard boys," as they call themselves, and have had the world at their feet their entire lives. There is no accountability, and their treatment of others is abhorrent and entitled; therefore it was not surprising to me that they had left Maddie there to fend for herself. The impulses and desires of Hank and Ellis cannot be deterred by anything, and because of their self-centered worldviews, it probably didn't even cross their minds to be worried for Madeline.

3) Ellis' drinking and episodes of anger don't seem to be anything new to Hank and Maddie. Do you think this is a symptom of a larger problem?

Ellis has been quick to anger since the morning the Colonel and Edith removed them from their home. When placed into scenarios of stress that he has yet to encounter in his privileged live, Ellis has difficulty coping in any other way. Add this to the fact that alcohol has probably been a large influence on his social scene for many years, and he is experienced in coping mechanisms, but not in repercussions for his actions. Moving forward, this will definitely pose a problem for him, not only in avenging the family name, but in his personal relationships with both Hank and Madeline.


Melissa | 3007 comments Chapters 1 - 5

1. Have you ever read anything else by Sara Gruen? If so did you like it?
I have not. I began Water for Elephants but never finished it.

2. This book has a mysterious beginning! It seems to me that it is a dead end, but we know that can't be the case. Any guesses about how the family might fit into the rest of the story?
I think that the husband did not die in war and will end up being one of the two men's relatives.

3. Why do you think Maddie is sick? Is it simple sea and car sickness or something else?
Not sure - I thought maybe pregnant but it could be sea sickness.

4. Are you or do you know anyone who is color blind?
Nope :)

5. Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster, or the possibility of a Loch Ness monster?
I believe in all possibilities of everything. Something started the rumors so why couldn't it be true.

6. How are you liking the book so far? Are you drawn into the story? I am excited. I like her writing style and I like this period in history, so I think it will be a good read.
I am enjoying the writing and the story so far.


Tamara Hi all!

How are you doing with your reading? Although I really enjoy the book I am way behind :(

But there are no questions for day 3 anyway, or did I miss them?


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

I think that I will start reading this soon, I feel like I'm behind in BoTM here in this club. I just looked it up on my library and it's in there, so I might go and get it soon! :-) Hopefully I can do it next month more consistently . . .


Melissa | 3007 comments I'll have the questions for Day 3 up soon - sorry they are late!!


Melissa | 3007 comments Questions and Comments for July 13
Chapters 7- 14

1) What is your opinion of each of the characters so far? Do any of them stand out to you?
None of them really stand out to me at this time. I don't like Ellis and Hank very much. Maddie seems like she could be a good person if she would leave Ellis that is. I feel he only brings her down. I do like Annie and Meg tho :)

2) I couldn't believe that Hank and Ellis left Maddie alone with no note, no ration book, and no idea if she would be allowed to stay in the inn. Were you surprised by their treatment?
Not surprised, no. They seem like those kind of people. I think they care for her but they always do what they want regardless of how the outcome will affect anyone else.

3) Ellis' drinking and episodes of anger don't seem to be anything new to Hank and Maddie. Do you think this is a symptom of a larger problem?
I think Ellis is a spoiled brat. I think he always gets what he wants regardless of the problem. He doesn't care much about Maddie the way he should. He obviously has a drinking problem. I'm not sure if it is due to a larger issue or not but it definitely is an issue.


message 47: by Melissa (last edited Jul 16, 2016 10:39AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melissa | 3007 comments Chapters 15 - 22


10. How do you feel knowing that Ellis married Maddie and not Hank because he won a coin toss and not because he was in love with her? Does that surprise you?

11. From what we are reading it doesn't seem like Ellis and Maddie often enjoy the physical side of marriage very much. Does anyone else get the feeling that perhaps Ellis and Hank are in love with each other? Could that be why Ellis and Maddie do not yet have a baby or participate in the physical part of marriage very often?

12. Poor Maddie having to find her mother had killed herself by taking pills and drowning in the bathtub. Do you think this is why she tolerates being treated the way she is by everyone in her life? Do you think she has no self worth?

13. Who do you think the woman was that Maddie saw on the brink of the river? Could she have been the ghost of the woman from the beginning of the story?



message 48: by Nora (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nora | 22 comments Chapters 15 - 22


10. How do you feel knowing that Ellis married Maddie and not Hank because he won a coin toss and not because he was in love with her? Does that surprise you?

I think it's ridiculous that they would make a gamble out of theirs and Maddie's future but I can't say I'm surprised at this point. They obviously have never taken anything seriously in their lives, being as privileged as they are. Also seeing how little Ellis cares for other people it is no surprise that he wouldn't care about Maddie's feelings.

11. From what we are reading it doesn't seem like Ellis and Maddie often enjoy the physical side of marriage very much. Does anyone else get the feeling that perhaps Ellis and Hank are in love with each other? Could that be why Ellis and Maddie do not yet have a baby or participate in the physical part of marriage very often?

I definitely think that Ellis and Hank are in love. I've honestly been wondering that since they started sneaking off without Maddie. It also seems that Hank is really the only person who can get through to Ellis, whether he's on a binge or in a rage, which I think says there is more then mere friendship.

12. Poor Maddie having to find her mother had killed herself by taking pills and drowning in the bathtub. Do you think this is why she tolerates being treated the way she is by everyone in her life? Do you think she has no self worth?

The more I learn about Maddie's past the more I see why she is where she is. It makes complete sense that she would have no self worth. She had a mother who shamed her and only used her to comfort her own morbid moods. She has a father who couldn't care less about her; obviously lumping her in with his distaste for her mother. Also due to her mothers past Maddie had no friends until Ellis , Hank and Freddie came along, it's no wonder she married one so easily. No one ever showed her love or told her she was worthwhile so of course she would believe she's worthless.

13. Who do you think the woman was that Maddie saw on the brink of the river? Could she have been the ghost of the woman from the beginning of the story?

I originally thought she might be that woman but Maddie talks about her being old and missing teeth. The woman from the beginning must have been younger as she had only recently had her first child and her husband was of the right age to go to war.


Keisha Bell-Kovacs 10.How do you feel knowing that Ellis married Maddie and not Hank because he won a coin toss and not because he was in love with her. Does it surprise you?

Not at all. Clearly Ellis and Hank are gay and needed the cover of a marriage in order to continue their relationship at a time when homosexuality was socially unacceptable. Maddie was the obvious choice as she was close to both of them.

11. From what we are reading it doesn't seem like Ellis and Maddie often enjoy the physical side of marriage very much. Does anyone else get the feeling that perhaps Ellis and Hank are in love with each other? Could that be why Ellis and Maddie do not yet have a baby or participate in the physical side of marriage very often?
Definitely, as mentioned above.

12. Poor Maddie having to find her mother had killed herself by taking pills and drowning in the bathtub. Do you think this is why she tolerates being treated the way she is by everyone in her life? Do you think she has no self worth?

No, I think she's never had a female role model who showed her how to be a strong person. We know her mother was unfaithful to her father and had a bad reputation in the community, so Maddie has always lived in the shadow of her mothers legacy. I think that is more the reason for her lack of assertiveness than anything, although she hints at guilt over her mothers death. She also comes from a social class where people do nothing for themselves, so she has no skills, not even knitting as Anna pointed out. True self worth comes from living with purpose. I like how she is beginning to feel useful by helping out at the inn.

13. Who do you think the woman was that Maddie saw on the brink of the river?

No idea.


Tamara 10. How do you feel knowing that Ellis married Maddie and not Hank because he won a coin toss and not because he was in love with her? Does that surprise you?

I had the idea that Ellis and Maddie were madly in love and therefore got married so fast (and without the approval of their parents). So, yes! The coin toss really surprised me! Nevertheless, I can not see why Maddie rejected Freddie so fast, as it seems she loved him but then she chose Ellis. I don't see any future for them, especially as Maddie evolves so much during this journey.

11. From what we are reading it doesn't seem like Ellis and Maddie often enjoy the physical side of marriage very much. Does anyone else get the feeling that perhaps Ellis and Hank are in love with each other? Could that be why Ellis and Maddie do not yet have a baby or participate in the physical part of marriage very often?

I believe that even more after Maddie tidied up Ellis room and found the picture of him and Hank, but none of her. Nevertheless, Hank only had pictures of naked women - maybe it is an unanswered love from Ellis' side?

12. Poor Maddie having to find her mother had killed herself by taking pills and drowning in the bathtub. Do you think this is why she tolerates being treated the way she is by everyone in her life? Do you think she has no self worth?

I don't necessarily think that her behaviour has to do with her mothers suicide, but more with the way her mother treated her before her death. She was constantly criticized and had to fit in a certain role, associated with her social status. So I think it was more her upbringing that made her to the woman she is now, than this single event.

13. Who do you think the woman was that Maddie saw on the brink of the river? Could she have been the ghost of the woman from the beginning of the story?

I think I can not answer this question as I already read on and I don't want to spoiler anyone with ideas that came up during the story (can not remember the chapter :) ).


« previous 1
back to top