Water for Elephants Final Thoughts

This is the discussion post for chapters 16-25 as well as any final thoughts you may have regarding this novel.

In the Author’s Note, Gruen writes that many of the details in the story are factual or come from circus workers’ anecdotes.  These true stories include the hippo pickled in formaldehyde, the deceased fat lady being paraded through town and an elephant who repeatedly pulled out her stake and stole lemonade.  Gruen did extensive research before writing Water for Elephants.  Was her story believable?

Are you satisfied with the end? 

(Discussion questions from About.com)

5 thoughts on “Water for Elephants Final Thoughts”

  1. I did enjoy the book and was glad that Gruen didn’t leave us hanging in regards to Marlena and Jacob’s relationship. Although, she did not leave us any indication as to what finally happened to Marlena; I’m assuming she passed away in later years.

    The book was believable for me. In that era, I could imagine life behind the scenes being as Gruen had written.

    Call me dumb, but I still can’t put together why Jacob got so angry with McGinty at the beginning.

    The end was unexpected for me; because it was unexpected, I liked it.

  2. It was a good book, I just finished it. I would have like to read more about Jacob and Marlena’s life together and what happened to her, but like Cindy I just assume she died before him of old age. I think he got mad at McGinty in the beginning because he is thinks he is the only one who took care of the elephant in his old mind, not realizing that there are other elephants in the world! Who knows, I didn’t quite get that myself.

  3. nzdinak said:

    McGuinty…I didn’t get it either. I FINALLY finished the book last night and start CRACKING UP when it was ROSIE who killed August! Through the whole book I was trying to figure out what happened in the Prologue, and I assumed that it was Marlena who killed him. I think this was a great book overall, but do I think this was believable? I’m not sure. Would an elephant really be capable of revenge? I don’t know enough about them to say…but I guess that’s why they call it fiction! Gruen did a great job with her research of circus life, I think, and in the end, I thought the ending tied everything together nicely. It was only fitting that Jacob ended up “going home”.

  4. They say elephants never forget. Maybe Rosie remembered all of the beatings.
    I did enjoy the book. Keep up the good work of choosing others. I am too lazy to research myself what to read.

  5. nzdinak said:

    Ah-HA! That’s what the Dr. Seuss epigraph means (because an elephant never forgets)!

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