Water for Elephants: The Conclusion (Spoiler Alert!), Plus Sara Gruen

Jeez, Water for Elephants really picked up toward the end of the story. The first part of the tale was interesting, informative, and had a nice, easy going pace. But things switched gears for about the last third and I liked it.

I knew a brawl had to break out between Jacob and August at some point, but it was a lot more intense than I thought it would be. Their fight was brutal, vivid, and went on and on and on. Sara Gruen's detailed writing again caused me to visualize the entire scene. Could you just about see, hear, and/or feel every blow delivered? Could you virtually see all the bruises and cuts on Jacobs face? I couldn't stop the visuals from coming.

And, while the beating August gave Marlena was brutal, awful, and sick, I was glad she left and never considered going back to him. She was done and wanted a divorce. That was a really courageous decision for a woman in those days, complicated by the fact that the country was in the midst of a depression and her family had written her off.

Again I was upset by August continuing to abuse Rosie. I guess I had hoped things were going to smooth out for Rosie once it was discovered that she understood Polish. I had to put the book down for a few moments when I got to the part that said August had beat Rosie so much that she was found lying on her side, quivering. But Rosie sure got him back in the end—cracked him right across the head. And then he was crushed into a "tangled mass of flesh" by an animal stampede. Yuck! Did you see that coming? I knew something had to give and was relieved when he was eliminated from the storyline. I was sick of August and his brutal rants against all living things. He had to go.

I was thrown for a loop when Camel and Walter were redlighted! I should have seen that one coming. But I didn't and it sort of broke my heart. I liked Camel and had grown to really appreciate Walter.

Something else that tugged at my heartstrings was when elder Jacob's only friend, Rosemary, said she was moving away. I thought, this poor guy can't catch a break.

I wasn't surprised that Jacob and Marlena ended up together in the end. Good for them. But I was surprised at Jacob escaping the nursing home and riding off into the sunset on a second circus train. What did you think of the ending? Did you think it was cheesy, or symbolic, or just right?

Guess what? REAL SIMPLE has arranged for Water for Elephants author Sara Gruen to answer your questions. Please post them by noon on Sunday, May 30, and we will post her responses soon after.

Thanks for reading along with me this month!