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Talking Points For Water For Elephants 2010-06-28 09:30:00

What Are Your Thoughts on Water For Elephants, Part 1?

Hopefully by now you've started reading Water For Elephants, because it's time to start discussing! The chapters absolutely flew by for me and I was instantly absorbed in the dichotomy of Jacob's past and present lives. I want to hear all of your initial thoughts, so here are a few talking points to get the ball rolling:

  • Jacob's recount of his younger years with the circus are obviously the focal point of the novel, but I'm finding his time in the nursing home to be equally engaging (not to mention heartbreaking). Which story are you enjoying more?
  • It's a bit jarring to find out that Marlena kills August in the prologue. Do you feel like the climax of the novel is already spoiled? Do you think she kills August out of love for Jacob?
  • Whenever a film adaptation of a novel is announced, I inevitably start picturing the actors as the characters. Though Jacob is described as a redhead, I'm already seeing Pattinson in the role — what about you?
  • So far we're getting a look at the nitty gritty behind-the-scenes drama of the circus, but it still feels a lot like a fairy tale to me. Do you think the cartoonish characters are meant to be a product of Jacob's memory or Sara Gruen's story telling?

Share your thoughts below or start your own topic threads in my community group! And don't forget to read chapters six through 10 for next week's discussion!

Join The Conversation
athena4rob athena4rob 7 years
i finished the book last night. also loved the twists and the ending :)
snowak snowak 7 years
Loved this book! I meant to only read up to Chapter 10, but ended up finishing it. I enjoyed switching between "present day" and Jacob's past. For me, this added some perspective and depth to the overall story. Following the storyline of Jacob & Marlena (and Rosie) was very satisfying. -- and I loved the twists that happen thru out the story as well as the historical setting of the circus. Finally, I enjoyed the interactions between Jacob and the other characters. I thought the author created many compelling relationships and characters.
athena4rob athena4rob 7 years
hello everyone! I only started reading the book 2 days ago and have already read about half of it. i don't think that the prologue spoils the climax of the novel in any way. it's a very compelling read and i can't wait to finish it. i don't think at this stage that marlena kills august because of her love for jacob. i agree wurg avabella17 in that i also feel that jacob loves marlena more than she loves him. i also think that the story with the old Jacob in the nursing home is very engaging and really makes you feel sympathy for the character. finally i am a HUGE robert pattinson fan so yes i am picturing rob as jacob.
glorr glorr 7 years
I agree with you about the chapters they flew by for me too.I really feel for Jacob in the nursing home it made me become more engrossed in the story. About sixty percent of me feels like Marlena did kill August out of love for Jacob and forty percent feels that in a way she doesn't. When I got to the middle of the book I got a feeling that Jacob loved Marlena more than Marlena loved him Maybe it's just me sometimes I think that in a relationship one person always loves more than the other I'm really looking forward to the movie I'm already picturing Robert Pattinson as Jacob.
auntieem1 auntieem1 7 years
I missed the part in the prologue about Marlena & August. Need to reread it. The details about the different groups of circus workers add to the story. I am able to picture all of the actors in their respective parts. Jacob, Marlena, August & Walter really come to life. I feel for Jacob in the nursing home. It adds more to the story.
pm0407 pm0407 7 years
I am reading the book for the second time with your book club. I am enjoying the second time even more because I now have faces to go with many of the characters. All the actors seem like a really good fit for the characters, especially Reese as Marlena. I am a huge Rob fan so it goes without saying that I am picturing him in every scene as well. The author paints such vivid pictures that it is so easy to become completely engrossed. The prologue does nothing to spoil the end as the book is full of surprises and twists throughout. I find the nursing home setting extremely compelling, but the flashbacks to the circus are so colorful and entertaining. I agree that the characters larger-than-life personalities are due to Jacob's aging memory. What struck me the most from the first time I read this story is how quickly you come to care for the character of Jacob. Maybe this is because you are introduced to him in the nursing home early on and your heart aches for the sadness and loneliness he feels.
ladywolfe55 ladywolfe55 7 years
The prologue doesn't say that Marlena kills August, it is just implied. I don't really care for the older Jacob in the nursing home, I tend to skip that part since I have read the book several times. I do picture the characters as the actors, except for Reece. She is totally wrong for the part. I don't think that the characters feel like a fairy tale, more like a little exaggerated due to them being memories.
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