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Book Discussions > Water for Elephants

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message 1: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (stephaniecwilkes) This is going to be where you'll add discussions, questions, insight, or whatever you feel about this book!


message 2: by Suzie (new)

Suzie | 90 comments When I got to Chapter 2, my first thought was, "Uh-oh, Stacey is not gonna like this!!!!" It's a flash back to his past. I remembered she didn't care for that aspect of Blessings. Chapter 3 was chronologically after Chapter 2, so maybe it'll be awhile before we flash back to the present.


message 3: by Stacey (new)

Stacey | 36 comments I don't mind the flashing back as long as there's a specific stopping and starting point (chapter, new paragraph, italics, etc.). In Blessings, it was all right there within the same paragraph, same chapter. Not my cup of tea. I believe I'm on ch 3 in this one--so far, not too bad!


message 4: by Suzie (new)

Suzie | 90 comments Oh yeah; I see your meaning. It doesn't revert to the present until Chapter 5, I believe. I'm liking it so far.


message 5: by Stacey (new)

Stacey | 36 comments I just read some more while eating lunch. This one has a surprise already for me personally. I'm liking it so far too.


message 6: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (stephaniecwilkes) I just started it last night...I am loving it so far! It's funny, I just spent Friday in the nursing home with my grandfather and so I kinda relate to Jacob when he is looking around at all the people. I guess next time I'll bring Paw Paw an apple...


message 7: by Suzie (new)

Suzie | 90 comments or a corn on the cob, but definitely NOT Jello!


message 8: by Stacey (new)

Stacey | 36 comments You guys are funny! I hope I'm as fiesty as Jacob when I'm 90 or 93. Now when I go into a home, I'll wonder how many are thinking just like him! I hope there are lots!


message 9: by Suzie (new)

Suzie | 90 comments I loved the ending!!! How poetic.


message 10: by Deanne (new)

Deanne | 13 comments I am about 3/4 of the way thru it. It is difficult for me to read the nursing home parts as I am part of an advocacy group pushing for more human adult treatment of residents AND it is very hard to read the animal abuse part. BUT that is what makes a good book, something that pushes you and challenges you. Don't tell me the end yet!


message 11: by Stacey (new)

Stacey | 36 comments It was hard to read the animal abuse parts for me too. Animals are so loyal to humans and to see them treated badly and abused makes me so angry! I thought the nursing home parts were funny.


message 12: by Suzie (new)

Suzie | 90 comments I love your attitude Stacey. I hope it's contagious. I thought the nursing home parts were depressing. Guess that's what comes of living in Gotham City LOL! I haven't read the discussion questions, yet. Comparing Jacob's treatment in the nursing home to Camel's treatment would make an interesting discussion I think. That's not a spoiler, is it? I don't see the button to click to say, "Spoler alert."


message 13: by Suzie (new)

Suzie | 90 comments Nor do I see a spell check. Sorry. Should be "Spoiler alert."


message 14: by Stacey (new)

Stacey | 36 comments I knew what you meant. That would be a very interesting comparison. The nursing home parts for me were funny because he still had a mind and used it. Sure, he used it to be angry with the other guy, but I guess I tried to see the humor. He has spirit, and that's what I think more people need in those places. He made great friends with Rose. He had his lady friends and was jealous of the lawyer (I think that's what he was) talking to them. I guess I'm glad he fought back--that was great because so many don't these days. They just lay or sit there and take their "mellowing" pills. Jacob stood up and said "No!" Just his thoughts were humorous. It was sad that his son didn't show, but he took action!


message 15: by Suzie (new)

Suzie | 90 comments Absolutely! Actually, he didn't belong there. He just needed a home health person to come in and make sure he took his meds and/or a maid and/or a housemate to keep him socially engaged OR a real assisted living facility. This sounds more like a nursing home than assited living. Mark's aunt was in a true assisted living in ATL and ate whatever she wanted.

In reading Jacob's thoughts about his own aging, I thought, "Thank God, my eyesight is failing. I don't know how much longer I'll be able to stand the sight of myself in the mirror either. And, thank God wrinkles don't hurt!"


message 16: by Suzie (new)

Suzie | 90 comments This question comes from page 110. If you haven’t read that far, you may want to not continue reading this question. Question 7. Reflecting on the fact that his platitudes and stories don't hold his children's interest, the elderly Jacob notes, "My real stories are all out of date. So what if I can speak firsthand about the Spanish flu, the advent of the automobile, world wars, cold wars, guerrilla wars, and Sputnik --- that's all ancient history now. But what else do I have to offer?" (page 110). How might we learn to appreciate the stories and life lessons of our elders and encourage people younger than ourselves to appreciate our own?


message 17: by Suzie (new)

Suzie | 90 comments When I read this I thought, "How could his children/grandchildren not be interested in this?"

Do you think maybe he told the same ol' stories over and over and they just got tired of hearing it?

I've asked my older relatives about the first day they had electricity and an automobile. It's real interesting to me to hear first-hand accounts of real life events versus just a bunch of dates and hard to pronounce names in a history book.

One of the things I appreciated about the book was Camel's wisdom and useful information. Even after he became paralyzed, when some people would say he no longer had any quality of life, he still had valuable input.

I don't know how to teach younger generations to appreciate my stories, but as for me, my philosophy is that you can't live to be 90 years old and not learn something, especially the most important lessons of all...how to get along with other people...how to examine a problem from all angles and not just go with your first impulse...how to best use your resources in order to get the most return for your money/efforts...etc.



message 18: by Stacey (new)

Stacey | 36 comments I'm finished with this one. I haven't looked at the questions yet. My thought on that is you have to make it real for them to get them interested. If it isn't real for them, it doesn't have that big an impact. So, I suppose I'm saying we should listen more carefully to what they're saying; but, they should also listen to us to try and make that connection. Does any of that make sense?


message 19: by Suzie (new)

Suzie | 90 comments Yes, I think I see what you mean. Draw parallels from events in their life to events in ours. When Joshua got his cell phone that probably would have been a good time to tell him about the joys of sharing a party line. LOL!



message 20: by Stacey (new)

Stacey | 36 comments That's funny that you say that. One day in the last couple of weeks while subbing, I actually told the class about party lines. They looked at me like a pig looking at a wrist watch!


message 21: by Deanne (new)

Deanne | 13 comments I"m finished now and I really did like the book. It was compelling. We see how youth is the IN think in our country; in many other countries the older persons are treated with more respect. Many parts of our society treat the elderly as if they were children and don't try to get valuable lessons from them. Of course, at the end Jacob did find someone who valued him. Sometimes families are too into the day to day or hold to old patterns of interaction to recognize the accomplishments of the person right in front of them.

It was overall a very touching story.



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