Mince Words With June: Water for Elephants

Really? You guys thought it'd be a good idea for me to read a book WHERE ANIMALS GET ABUSED ALL THE TIME?

Really?

I kept having to put it down every time that poor elephant got hit. Oh, I could hardly stand it. And that time Rosie's eyes filled with tears. KILL ME NOW, why don't you?

I'm glad she smacked stupid August with her pole.

Who thought it was Marlena who killed August, after reading the prologue of the book? I did. I had no idea it was gonna be Rosie who did the killing.

Also, didn't parts of this book kind of remind you of now, with the no one having jobs part and the desperation and the people needing to be entertained? Also, I thought about when I was a kid and the circus and the fair would come to town, and how I was suckered into buying all kinds of crap. I wonder if I ever drank lemonade made from trough water? I wonder if I was entertained by animals who were beaten or treated badly? Probably.

I really liked the parts of the book where the hero of our story, Jacob, was an old man. This is why I like old people. They are just like us, only old, and I think we tend to forget that a lot of times. We patronize and we treat old people like they're children and we don't listen to them, but they are regular people trapped in not-working-so-well bodies. I thought the author captured that really well.

Why was this book called Water for Elephants? I mean, the other old man at the table saying he carried water for elephants was such a minor part of the book. Was it because we don't understand what circus life was like and this is an example of it? Is it because like Rosemary said, when we get old we tell ourselves things that aren't true and we start to believe them as truth? What? Why is that the title? Somebody tell me.

And I loved the ending. I loved it that he ran off with the circus. That's what his dumb son gets, forgetting that it was his day to be with dad, and forgetting to take him to the circus, of all things.

So no more books where animals get abused. Cannot read that. Cannot stand. Also, too, I want an elephant now. So bad. Can I have one? How do you think Francis would cotton to an elephant? He's adjusted to a dog so nicely.

Did you like the book? Did it make you want to join the circus? Do tell.

117 thoughts on “Mince Words With June: Water for Elephants

  1. I read it. Totally forgot about getting on here last Night. The part that made me cry was Jacob in the nursing home, that is my worst fear to be alone and forgotten by my loved ones. Thats why I loved it when he ran off with the Circus at the end. I could totally see myself doing that,

    Like

  2. I did not read the selection because I don’t read sad books. I read another book that had an elephant in it, “Reunion At Mossy Creek.” It is freakin’ hilarious. Especially if you grew up in the South. The elephant’s name was Rose and she escaped from the circus and managed to burn down the local high school with the help of the team mascot Samson the Sheep who had sparklers stuck in his wool. So there you go. It’s kind of like I read the selection only happier.

    Like

  3. I’m late to the party, but I got stuck at my mom’s for Easter dinner. I loved the book, although the abuse was hard to read.

    Like

  4. We read this one for my Real Life book club a while back, and I was the one who picked it (not knowing about the animal abuse, which, me too, June. Me too.), and I was also the only one who remotely enjoyed it. I was one of maybe 4 in the group of ~10 who even finished it. I mean, it wasn’t the greatest book ever, but it wasn’t un-finishable.

    Like

  5. I loved this book! I was hoping someone could tell me why it was called “Water for Elephants” too – I didn’t understand this. My Mom read it and made this suggestion, and I think she’s right. Perhaps Jacob didn’t actually run away with the circus, he died sitting in that chair waiting for his son. I think she might be right. And his afterlife is in the circus. I also thought it was going to be Marlena who did the deed. Great book! I’m not in your book club – but had to barge in anyway.

    Like

  6. I can’t believe I forgot the Book Party when I read the ding dang book! So I’m late. And, I don’t really have anything to add that hasn’t already been said.

    Like

  7. I read that one too and it tore me up. I have been more diligent lately to make sure I don’t buy books in which animals or children are harmed. I always put it down at that part and read People magazine until I gather enough gumption to continue. But it does help me keep up with Brangelina.

    Like

  8. Damn. Missed it again. My favorite thing about the book club is that it gets me to read books I never would have read, and then learn about a part of life I never knew about. Logging in North Carolina, Southern maids in the 60s, circus trains in the Depression…who knew?
    I really enjoyed the book, couldn’t figure out how it would have a happy ending with Marlena killing August (how did anyone else figure out it was Rosie?). I hated how they dumped Walter & ??? off the train at the trestle, could not believe anyone could be that callous. One of my top 10 movies is Station Agent, so I really got attached to Walter.
    Loved Rosemary, the aide at the nursing home. I wish there were more like her around. Loved his voice at the nursing home as someone whose body is going but not his brain, stuck in a place where people are mostly treated like their brains are gone too. Enjoyed his reference to wanting to eat something he could chew because he still had all his teeth.
    And really loved the ending, the synopsis of his life after the circus then where he got to run away to the circus again. Like someone else said, it made reading the rest of the book worthwhile to read the end.
    Great Choice.

    Like

  9. I actually read this book and I’m still late to the party. I loved it. I know it was awful that the animals were abused but I loved how Jacob really cared about them and didn’t want to leave for them. And Marlena and the old guy whose name escapes me. And I LOVED that Marlena and Jacob got Rosie and all the horses at the end of the story, and that the baby was red headed. One of the best books I have read in a while, I made my mother read it.

    Like

  10. I actually didn’t like that he joined the circus again at the end. That was the one part to me that was like, “what?” His poor family! Not that they really seemed to care all that much about him anyway. So maybe it really was for the best.

    Like

  11. I didn’t Read the damned book. And I’m glad I didn’t. I won’t go to The Circus because I feel so Badly for the animals. I am reading The Help, I know a Little too Little, too Late.

    Like

Comments are closed.