Saturday, October 31, 2009

BC Consensus: Water for Elephants

Would you like to crème de la crème from our book club dicussions this month? You are in luck! In October, we discussed Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants. Here are some of the comments our members made about the book:

“The juxtaposition of the nursing home story with the circus story seemed to point out that even when life isn't at its best or always going our way, it is still more fulfilling to be living some kind of life rather than just letting it pass us by.”

“I had no idea such unscrupulous things happened in the circus. But, I guess I never really gave it much thought before. I always just naively assumed that everyone must be happy doing what they did because if they weren't happy, why would they be doing such grueling work and risky acts? Sometimes I'm a little black and white and this book was totally, unequivocally, the grey in-between. The story was so full and lush, I felt satisfaction after closing it, as well as just a little compulsion to go back and read some chapters over.” +/-

“I surprised myself with this book. I actually ended up quite liking it, although I enjoyed the second half much more than the first. Gruen is an amazing and talented writer—I thoroughly enjoyed her style. She has a great vocabulary. I just got the feeling that every word I read was distinctly and perfectly correct, like each word had been pored over and debated, until just right: baby bear’s chair to Goldilocks. It was really something.”

“Despite the fact that I really liked this book, I have a healthy number of dislikes. I found it improbable that a horse would die so quickly after a worker killed it by slitting its throat. I was angry when our supposedly good animal-lover Jacob left Rosie, for whom he professed such affection, in the hands of a crazed sociopath. I understand the need to show flaws in a person, but that flaw didn't match up to the rest of him. I found the sex scenes to be rather unnecessarily graphic; although, I do think they added a believable element of sleaze to the novel's atmosphere, which is hopefully what Sara was going for. I think it would be hard to duplicate that atmosphere without something like this, but I think they were too absurdly detailed.”

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