Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Week 9: Water for Elephants

Just an update... I finished Water for Elephants earlier this morning.  As I neared the end of the novel I was sad due to the events which were taking place, but the book resolved itself.  I was very happy with the ending.  The part of the story-line which was sad to me was the part which followed the "ninety or ninety-three" year old Jacob.  He was very upset and depressed because of his life in the nursing/assisted living home and the events which cause him to miss the circus; however, things work out, and it turns out to be a rather happy ending.  Again, some of the parts of the book were very vulgar and descriptive.  I loved the story, but I am not sure I would even be comfortable teaching this novel.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Week 9: Water for Elephants

     I have already read between 5 and 7 hours this week (starting Sunday) and cannot seem to put this book down.  Water for Elephants is a really great book; it is set in the 1930's era during the depression and follows a young man (age 23) named Jacob Jankowski on is journey to becoming part of a circus and what goes in while he is part of this circus.  The reader is presented the story through the "ninety or ninety-three" year old Jacob's flashbacks to the time when he was 23 and a part of the Benzini Brothers' Most Spectacular Show on Earth. 
     Although I love this book, I think I would have a hard time teaching to a class of snickering high school students.  There is a very descriptive/vulgar scene where the prostitute of the show is dancing or stripping, rather.  Jacob describes every part of her body, every action she is making, and every reaction the men in the "cooch tent" are having.  He is in shock, as would be most of the class.  There are several other vulgar, descriptive scenes which do not leave any room for the imagination because Jacob's descriptions have already told the reader anything and everything he/she might want to know.  I know I read books in high school which contained sections about prostitutes, sex, and the like, but I think this book is much more vulgar.  Parents would have a heyday with a novel like this one. 
     It really is a good read, and I love that it shows so much of the Depression's characteristics as the circus travels from town-to-town all over the United States.  Even some of the circus members and other characters are shocked and appalled by the state of the United States.  Also, it shows the reader how Jacob copes with the accidental and shocking death of his parents.  There are definitely parts of the novel which students can relate to, but it would definitely be harder than the other novels I have read because of the age of the main character and the other characters, for that matter.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week 8: The Giver

I just finished the The Giver.  It was an absolutely wonderful book!  I love that everything works out in the end for Jonas, and that the Giver understood the same way Jonas did that Sameness is not the best way to do things, or that controlling everything was not what people needed.  By living life in such a controlled way the people were missing out on color, love, true happiness, true family, and much, much more!  It is really strange to think about life from Jonas' perspective; to think about what it would be like if we could not freely read whatever material we chose, or not exaggerate when speaking.  To not be loved by my family sounds terrifying!  They are my everything; without them I am pretty sure I'd be an emotional/mental wreck.  Truly scary thoughts.  Anyway, the ending is really great because Jonas gets to experience all of the things he saw in his memories from the Giver.  Also, he gets to help the baby he truly cares about and loves, Gabriel.  Happy endings are the best.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 6: The Giver

I began reading The Giver at the end of last week and love it! The novel is great, it completely puts the reader into Jonas's world.  Jonas is an Eleven and about to go through the Ceremony of Twelve where he will be told what job he will have for the rest of his adult life.  The story follows Jonas from a third person point of view so the reader knows how Jonas is feeling, but also what everyone is saying and thinking around him as well.  This "community" or society is very different from the one we experience today.  This novel reminds me a lot of Brave New World and 1984 where the reader is presented with a society of the "future."  Things are different.  In The Giver there is climate control, different levels of importance, jobs are assigned and rules are followed.  Certain aspects of Jonas's community life are similar to ours but on a much less extreme level.  It is also a very easy and enjoyable read!