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Discussion Starter #1
I was never a fan of the circus.  I've always felt bad for the animals having to live in tight quarters and traveling; instead of enjoying the wild where they belong. NOT to MENTION:  the poking and prodding.  The book just reminded me of all of the above; all over again.

The book was good...but certainly not enjoyable. 

Opinions welcome.

 

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I tried to read that one.. and could not get into it.. I don't think I even made it far enough into the book where he was remembering the circus..  I've thought about trying to pick it back up.. But.. 2 things.. 1 it's a DTB and I want to read my Kindle and 2 I have 5 pages of stuff on my Kindle I want to read also.. LOL

I might someday try again.. but not overly impressed at about 4 chapters in.
 

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I never enjoyed the circus either. Hated to take our kids when they were younger. When my kids got me Water for Elephants for Mothers Day last year I was a bit skeptical. But because it was a gift I felt obliged to read it. I thought the writing was amazing. You could tell the author did a great deal of research.

I understand what you mean about being reminded all over again. I am currently reading Whiskey Rebels. There are parts that are very disturbing, but necessary to understand the book completely. I feel Water for Elephants is much the same. Without the details that can be disturbing, the story looses something.
 

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I am a little over half way in the book and had no trouble getting into it. Being an animal lover I appreciate the great love that Jacob has for animals and the fact that he sees himself as their shepherd. It bothers me the conditions under which they live.

I think it makes us aware of aging and what it must be like to live in a nursing home. I appreciate that at 93 he still has some spunk and humor left. Love Rosemary, she is a kind, gentle soul and knows how to deal with geriatric patients. It takes a special nurse to work in a nursing home.

The book is a story of grief and loss but when we think about it, that is what life is.

The book is beautifully written in my opinion.


 

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I thought Water for Elephants was a wonderful book-- I have recommended it many times to family and friends. There are some scenes that are very hard to digest, but I don't have a problem with that because it just adds to the experience. The book actually was not as gut wrenching as one of the true story it was based on--Topsy, a circus elephant, killed her trainer after he fed her a lit cigarette, and was put to death in front of a crowd of spectators and shot with six hundred sixty six volts of electricity. So really, Sarah Gruen cut down on the gruesomeness.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I read about that; so awful.  I think that the cruelty to animals punishment should fit the crime.  These jerks that abuse animals deserve everything they get.  In a news segment last winter someone had a lhasa apso outside in the freezing cold on a metal link chain and the chain froze to the dog's side.  The dog was rescued and had to have the chain removed by a vetrinarian.  I think that person should have been chained up outside on the very same chain in sub zero temperatures.
 

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I finished the book today and I did enjoy it. It is a a book I will recommend to family and friends. I thought it was a story of love, love for animals, love between a man and a woman, and love of life. Animal cruelty is something I can not tolerate and I detested
August not only for abusing animals but also Marcena.
A beautifully written story.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Let me correct myself: The book content was not enjoyable...though the book itself was. Does that make sense??
I did think that the book was good, well written, but one's heart breaks for those animals...that aside; it was a very good read. I would recommend it; though I would caution animal lovers to be prepared. I wanted to take Mr. Jankowski home with me.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Linda:  The portrayal of Mr. J. and the nursing home scenes were dead on.  I volunteered for a nursing home when in junior high school and later on, worked there.  The author has it down to a fine science.  She definitely did her homework on both counts:  the circus behind the scenes and the nursing home. 

The elderly are so funny; some are adorable, others cranky...together make for some interesting stuff.  My heart would break for some of them as they would never receive visitors.  It can be sad and lonely for them.  One thing they all have in common:  they have some great stories to tell and have seen more than we may ever, in our lifetimes.  I respect and admire them; I wish our youth had more consideration and compassion...they will be there themselves one day.  If only they would spend some time, they could learn so much...more than any book could offer.  I used to go every Thursday for 3 years and visit from room to room with the "social action club" the patients used to look so forward to the Thursday visits; secretly...we enjoyed it more than they.
 

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I agree with you SJC, I worked as a nurse in a nursing home for a year. They are some of the wisest and sweetest people you will ever meet. You can make their day with a hug, a smile, a kind word, holding their hand. They are so appreciative of any kind of verbal communication or affection. I could talk to them for hours. It doesn't take much to make them happy.

After a year I could no longer do it, I am too much of a softie...I know, I know they teach you in nursing school not to get attached but I don't have that type personality. It was too much for me because there was not enough staff to give proper care. As you said SJC some of them *never* had loved ones visit and ached to see them and when I had two off days and returned 9 times out of ten I would have lost one of my patients.

I will never forget when I started their was this elderly African American lady named Rolly and everyone warned me how mean she was. They said she would throw things, hit you, claw you and never talked. Also said she would spit on you. I started by talking to her and I held her hand, then I progressed to rubbing her forehead and then rubbing her arms, legs, feet and back with lotion. I would talk to her the entire time. It only took 2 or 3 weeks and she would give me the biggest smile everytime I entered her room and attempt to talk although I couldn't understand her. I always wondered is some of the aids had been cruel to her. I had my off days and came back, got report to find out she had died while I was off. I cried and cried and resigned. I couldn't do it anymore.

I think when I retire I will visit or see if I can work a couple days a week in a nursing home.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Linda:  I am a softie...I quit for the same reasons you did.  Your Rolly was my Pearl.  It's tough to watch.  I quit the school department for the same thing.  I couldn't stand to watch how some of these kids were being raised.  My husband got tired of me providing for them.  I take it all to heart.  Now I crunch numbers in an office...less strain on the heartstrings.
 

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I enjoyed the book. It had many reminders for me of the HBO series Carnivale. To be honest, it was the human suffering that got to me more than the animals. The animals got fed, not so with the people.
 

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It was awhile since I read this, but I do remember I loved it, don't remember why tho.  8)
 

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This was one of the first books I downloaded on my Kindle and I really enjoyed it. I have little knowledge about the circus and was horrified by the conditions that the people lived in, not to mention the animals. I get the feeling that much of what was discussed in the book was accurate, perhaps slightly exagerated, but it felt true.

The depiction of the nursing home and how his family treated him was very real. I felt his heartbreak when he was not going to get to go to the circus. And then to get there on his own was awesome. I love the idea that he is going to travel with the circus again but this time the conditions will be so much better.

I thought that the story waspowerful. Hard, but powerful.
 

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I liked it -- how a innocent wises up and does what he can to improve a terrible situation.

My best story about this book however, comes from a book club member who hated the book.
"What was the point?" she said.
"Didn't you read the prologue?" we asked her.
"Never read those things".
Uh, the key to the whole thing was in the prologue. No wonder she didn't get it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ya think?  I don't get some people.  I liked the book.  I felt bad for the animals and the human suffering (or should I say inhumane) living conditions.
 

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I resurrected last month's read to ask this same question in a slightly different way. 

I was taken to the circus as an older child and hated it.  The first thing I noticed was the cruelty to the animals.  (I can read about cruelty to animals, but of course I hate the idea.) 

Is that a major part of the book or would a person who is anti-circus because of cruelty to animals not enjoy this book?  Please keep in mind I absolutely LOVE elephants. 

Thanks.
 
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