2022 & 2023 Reading Challenge discussion

The Shape of Water
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ARCHIVE 2018 > The Shape of Water: General Discussion *Spoiler Free*

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message 1: by Winter, Group Reads (last edited Jul 05, 2018 03:30AM) (new)

Winter (winter9) | 4720 comments This month we will be doing things a bit differently. We had a tie between two books and decided to run two group reads for June.

The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro

It is 1962, and Elisa Esposito—mute her whole life, orphaned as a child—is struggling with her humdrum existence as a janitor working the graveyard shift at Baltimore’s Occam Aerospace Research Center. Were it not for Zelda, a protective coworker, and Giles, her loving neighbor, she doesn’t know how she’d make it through the day.

Then, one fateful night, she sees something she was never meant to see, the Center’s most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man, captured in the Amazon, to be studied for Cold War advancements. The creature is terrifying but also magnificent, capable of language and of understanding emotions…and Elisa can’t keep away. Using sign language, the two learn to communicate. Soon, affection turns into love, and the creature becomes Elisa’s sole reason to live.

But outside forces are pressing in. Richard Strickland, the obsessed soldier who tracked the asset through the Amazon, wants nothing more than to dissect it before the Russians get a chance to steal it. Elisa has no choice but to risk everything to save her beloved. With the help of Zelda and Giles, Elisa hatches a plan to break out the creature. But Strickland is on to them. And the Russians are, indeed, coming.

Michelle will be our discussion leader, thank you!


Michelle (michellebilodeau) | 28 comments Looking forward to this book! I havn't seen the movie but I heard the book is even better.


message 3: by Winter, Group Reads (new)

Winter (winter9) | 4720 comments Will be trying to get the rest of the threads for this book up tomorrow :)


message 4: by Winter, Group Reads (new)

Winter (winter9) | 4720 comments So I was going to put up the threads for this one today, but it won't let me see the table of contents on amazon. Could someone tell me how many chapters this book have? Hopefully someone own it :)


message 5: by Ilona, Global Moderator (new)

Ilona | 4210 comments Winter, the book is divided in 4 parts:

Primordium - Chapter 1 to 11
Uneducated Women - Chapter 1 to 34
Creative Taxidermy - Chapter 1 to 51
Trouble Your Heart No More - Chapter 1 to 34


message 6: by Winter, Group Reads (new)

Winter (winter9) | 4720 comments Thanks Ilona!

Sorry the rest of the threads are so late everyone! We lost our internet a week ago so all my tasks are late. Someone comes to take a look at it today and hopefully fix it!


message 7: by Winter, Group Reads (new)

Winter (winter9) | 4720 comments The last threads will be up as soon as possible. Looking at them now though I think I will divide them a little differently or number them. It's not clear if you don't own the book which part is which week.


message 8: by Michelle (last edited Jun 06, 2018 06:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Michelle (michellebilodeau) | 28 comments Wow what a heart racing finish. So intense.
This book was like a roller coaster for me. Started off slow but with potential. Then it picked up bit by bit the first half then whamo! Full speed ahead! I loved the characters. Except Strickland who I loved to hate. Seriously how can someone be so repulsive? Can't wait to see the movie and I'm so glad I read this first. This book on one hand was sad and angry yet there was such a soft, romantic poetic side. Elisa and her sign language with the "asset" was mesmerising.
(view spoiler)
Overall this book was like a romantic fantasy mixed with a major suspense aspect. I would of given it 5 stars but I found it took a while to really take off.


Lynn (lmelliott) | 686 comments Michelle wrote: "Wow what a heart racing finish. So intense.
This book was like a roller coaster for me. Started off slow but with potential. Then it picked up bit by bit the first half then whamo! Full speed ahead..."


I agree the part in the Amazon with the crazy soldier (Strickland) was slow and horrible....but maybe necessary background to him as a full character. I saw the movie this week and there were only a couple verbal references to the capture of the asset. I explained the whole Amazon (Heart of Darkness) part to my friend who'd not read the book, but she thought it wasn't needed for the movie to make sense. I think it strengthens the reader's fear of the Strickland character to know his past and family life, but I think Guillermo made the right choice in the film.


Michelle (michellebilodeau) | 28 comments I can't wait to see the movie now!


message 11: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn (lmelliott) | 686 comments Michelle wrote: "I can't wait to see the movie now!"

I noticed the coolest thing. (view spoiler)


Michelle (michellebilodeau) | 28 comments Oh maybe! She sure loved her shoes.


Kristy Johnston | 356 comments I'm a little late joining in, too many reads again. Plus I picked this book up and put it down 3 times in the last 2 weeks. I had a hard time getting through the first ~20%. It almost felt like the flowery, descriptive language at the beginning that gave way to a more casual storytelling in the rest of the book was written by a different author (hmm). Once I got past this point, I couldn't put the book down.

The characters were well thought out and distinctive. Some of the chapters were a little short but I liked the changing points of view and despite the number of characters in the story that did not detract from the storytelling. I loved Elissa and her relationships with Giles, Zelda and, of course, The Asset. Strickland, well, he had issues that I’m not sure I understand and maybe I’m not meant to, but he was a bit unpredictable and the finger thing was a little cringe-worthy. I didn’t quite get attached to Lainie though I might have with a little more background. I was surprised and a little confused by the end. I loved the descriptions of the colors and I can’t wait to see the visual. And the shoes!!!


Michelle (michellebilodeau) | 28 comments I agree that it was really slow at the beginning. It's too bad since many I can see just giving up before it gets going.


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