Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Water for Elephants Reading Group--Week 3

Okay, MIL gone, another day of work down, and we can finally begin to discuss!

Brief Synopsis:

Chapter 6:  We are back with circus Jacob.  He is introduced to Marlena's horse (and he and Marlena officially interact for the first time) and to August (Marlena's husband and the man in charge of the animals).  Jacob quickly ascertains that Marlena's sick horse is in bad shape and might not make it.  Big Al orders Jacob to fix the horse and report to August.  He is to be paid 9 dollars a week.  He still is doing some manual labor and is bringing water to the horses and washes himself with the left over water.  August arranges for Jacob to be brought his own water and some fresh clothes.  We get to see a little bit of the inner workings of the circus, and it is interesting.  We also see August's darker side when he introduces Jacob to a tiger and has the tiger bite Jacob's arm.  Fortunately, the tiger has no teeth, but the message is made clear to Jacob not to cross August. We also meet Kinko, one of the performers, in this chapter.  Right now he doesn't like Jacob too much.  Jacob is invited to dine in August and Marlena's car. 

Chapter 7:  Jacob attends dinner in the Rosenbluth's car.  There is a moment when August has had too much to drink and is dancing with Marlena and a look comes over him.  Marlena suddenly looks very afraid.  Jacob becomes on alert that something might happen, but then just as suddenly August relaxes.  August passes out and Jacob and Marlena talk.  She tells Jacob that August has "moments".  They have all had too much to drink and Jacob ends up spending the night in their car.  He walks back to his car in the morning and finds Kinko in a compromising situation with himself.  This makes Kinko like him even less.  Marlena comes to check on her horse and finds her not well.  Jacob tells her that the horse won't survive.  Marlena falls apart and into Jacob's arms for comfort. Jacob tells August that the horse needs to be put down even if it means he gets kicked out of the circus.  Jacob puts Silver Star down.  Jacob also tells August that they have run out of meat to feed the big cats.  August says he will take care of it.  Jacob is afraid of what that means.

Chapter 8: We are back with nursing home Jacob.  The nurse who is nice to him, Rosemary, is with him when he wakes up.  Jacob becomes excited because he realizes that today is the day that "his people" come to visit him and they are going to take him to the circus that all the residents have been so anxious to attend. He reminisces about his wife and kids and how when his wife died his kids were all too anxious to put him in a home.

Chapter 9:  We are back in the circus.  The train comes to a stop in a town and they realize that they have run out of food for the people to eat.  August, Marlena, and Jacob head into town to a diner to get breakfast until food can be brought to the camp.  The rest of the people are forced to starve until food finally arrives.  August is consoling Marlena because she found out that Silver Star became the meat for the big cats and she is not happy about it. At this stop that train has made, another circus has gone out of business and Benzini Brothers is looking to pick up some new acts from the defunct circus.  Jacob, Marlena, and August head to dinner in the food tent later that evening for dinner.  Some of the workers of the defunct circus are hanging around hoping to score some food.  They are starving.  One of the workers starts to ask Marlena to please spare a roll. August won't let her give him anything.  She defies him and hands the worker her food.  August is so enraged that he throws his entire dinner in the garbage to prove a point. He would rather let his food go to waste than give any to the starving man, and we see yet another glimpse of how cruel he can be.  From the defunct circus the Benzini Bros. acquire an elephant.  Rosie, is her name.  Reportedly she is the stupidest elephant alive.

Chapter 10: Jacob and Marlena are taking care of the other animals from the other circus when Jacob catches Marlena starring at him.  He suddenly takes her in his arms and starts dancing with her.  They immediately become embarrassed and quite.  Everyone is celebrating after all the acquisitions have been made from the circus.  Due to Jacob healing Kinko's dog, Queenie, Kinko invites Jacob to drink with him and his friends.  Jacob drinks A LOT.  He finds himself in a corner and is not quite sure how he got there.  Suddenly, Barbara, the performer from the cooch tent appears with her friend Nell and starts doing things to Jacob that we have all dreamed about doing to Rob a million and one times.  Next thing he knows Jacob wakes up and is stuffed into a trunk. He has no memories except for he distinctly remembers throwing up on Barbabra.  Jacob is disgraced and embarrassed.  He also finds the next morning that August is trying get Rosie to move into her own train car and is repeatedly hitting her to do so.  It disgusts both Marlena and Jacob, and once again they seek each other for comfort.

Chapter 11:  August invites Jacob to go out with him and Marlena in Chicago at the trains next stop.  August takes them to a secret nightclub.  Remember, this is during prohibition era and booze are illegal.  Marlena drags Jacob out to the dance floor.  She is wearing red satin and he can't take his eyes off her.  During their dance the police come and raid the club.  Marlena and Jacob escape together and run away as fast as they can.  Once the club is far behind them, they stop to rest and Jacob can't resist any longer and kisses Marlena!  She is disturbed by this and immediatley runs off down another street. He hopes that she makes it back okay.  Jacob sits at his usual table in the morning to eat breakfast with August and Marlena.  August make it clear that he noticed how close the two of them got last night and issues a veiled threat to Jacob.

So now that we are almost half way into the story what do you think?  Do you want Marlena and Jacob to be together?  How are you reacting to August's character.  Dish girls!  We want to hear all your thoughts!

 This week we will be reading chapters 12-17!



Trixie & Tess


MamaTink said...

Of course Jacob and Marlena are meant to be together, they are kindred spirits. August is just a dictator and abuser. I hope he gets punished for his abuse of the animals.

kassiecullen said...

I am glad Jacob is asserting himself more in these later chapters. He is trying his best to do what is right for the animals. Poor Jacob can't catch a break, as soon as he is making headway with people like August, Marlena, and Kinko something happens and they revert back to the awkward way things were before.

I am glad Marlena stood up to August and gave the starving man her food. It was probably not a wise choice nor was dancing with Jacob at the speakeasy. She knows she shouldn’t do these things and that is why when Jacob kisses her she runs, but it is clear that she is not happy with August. With his "moments" though it is really not in her best interest to do these things.

I think that Marlena should be with Jacob and right now I cannot stand August he needs to get his shit together and he scares me because although nothing really happened between Jacob and Marlena, it feels like he is going to do something (like the lion biting Jacob) because he thinks they did.

Alisha said...

I honestly don't want them together because of what happened in the prologue. She killed someone for goodness sake! I know that the guy can be cruel but you had to go that far? I wonder if he did something horrible to Marlena later in the book. I feel bad for old Jacob because his kids WANTED him in a home. I know Jacob is at least earning a living but it seems like he doesn't belong there, but neither in the business world as well. I can't see him working as a vet or at the circus. I don't know where he belongs but we'll have to see what happens later...and if Marlena is his deceased wife!
P.S. I was wondering what if old Jacob went to the circus and saw an old friend.

rpfangirldc said...

I have already read the whole book, so I am only going to try to stick to what is in these chapters for my response.

Marlena and Jacob should be together. It seems that they are very drawn to each other no matter how wrong it was for them to be (at the time). She's married to a jerk. He doesn't want to lose his new life by overstepping the boundaries, but they are meant to be. They are resisitaing hard.

I always hated going to Jacob as the old man. He was so alone and so down about how his life turned and he was left with few visits from his family. It's heart breaking. I always wanted to rush through those parts and get back to young Jacob and his drama... and picturing Rob in the garb. I'll admit to that.

The Chicago visit... It was right up there as one of my favorite parts of the book. OH! I loved that they kissed. I got goosebumps reading that part more than reading about Edward and Bella kissing for that first time. I can't wait to see that part.


fran said...

Yes, I want Jacob and Marlena to get together. They both deserve some relief from the problems they've been forced to face, They are so young and alive and seem to be looking for some much needed love and compassion. You can't help but cheer them on even though she is married (he's an abuser,mental health issues or not, she shouldn't have to put up with that, although back then I suppose most women were forced to stay in difficult marriages), it seems as though these two can help each other heal from their worries. They are searching for a way out and Jacob seems to be looking for his place in life. I love how sweet, innocent, and decent a guy he is as compared to Au;gust. So, just for this story, I'm a Team Jacob!!

Munkee said...

I like this story because all of the characters are so flawed. They each carry some burdens. Jacob has his tragedy and the fact that he walked out on his exams. Marlena married poorly, and we don't even know much about her really. And August is abusive and possessive. I love the structure of the story with the alternating between young and old Jacob. For me it shows that we continue to grow and change despite the burdens, and there is redemptive power.

However, I am scared because I think there will be more animal abuse in the story and I hate that shit!!

MiMi said...

I loved this book. I couldn't stick to the timeline, I just devoured it.
I actually think it was the best book I've read so far this year. Can't wait for the movie!

Dangrdafne said...

I won't be surprised if Jacob and Marlena end up together nor would I be surprised if they don't end up together. I love the way the book is written and that we really don't know what is coming next. I definitely appreciate not figuring out things in the story and not expecting things to happen. It is refreshing to me to just read and a book and not know what is coming next. I am very much enjoying this book EXCEPT for the the animal horrors but I always remind myself that things are somewhat better now for animals and more abusers get what is coming to them. Doesn't make it easier to read though. Can't wait to see where we go next.