I’m Eating a Popsicle (While Reading “Water for Elephants”)

(You know you’re jealous.)

So you know how I gave up ice cream for Lent?

… Well that doesn’t apply to popsicles. (YUSSS!!!!!)

Anyway, I’m reading Water for Elephants right now, and while it’s interesting so far, and I’m enjoying it, some parts of it are just disgusting. Which I guess I should have figured out from the quote on the cover of the book:

But yeah. I didn’t get that, for some reason.

  • Violence? I can take that.
  • Gruesome descriptions? I can take that.
  • “Gritty” and “sensual?”  Not so much.

Maybe it’s because — let’s face it — I have absolutely 0% experience with guys, but a lot of the descriptions and characteristics of Water for Elephants just really bother me. The issue with this “bothering,” though, is that these details, and situations, etc actually add to the storyline… I mean, if it was just pure sex, I would put the book down and stop reading it in a heartbeat, but the fact of the matter is that Water for Elephants has an interesting plot, and the plot’s interesting enough that it’s keeping me reading, despite the gritty, sensual details. They’re important to the story, and the voice of Jacob the narrator, and the way the entire thing goes over, overall… So even though it all bothers me, I keep reading right on through it all — albeit only scanning the parts that get to be a bit much for my (largely innocent) mind — because it’s necessary to the plot, and the plot interests me.

And yeah. What do you guys think about… well, “gritty” and “sensual” stuff in books? Do you stop reading if you come across anything like in Water for Elephants, or do you not really care?

And now I’m going back to eating my popsicle. Mmmm, non-ice-cream-frozen-bliss…

This is what book nerds do on the weekends.




8 thoughts on “I’m Eating a Popsicle (While Reading “Water for Elephants”)

  1. I agree… Vivid details on that are not needed in books! It can be disturbing to read for people at ANY age. Why can’t they just elude to what is happening without giving all the sordid details?


  2. I cannot stand the “sensual” stuff, especially if it has no real relevance to the plot.

    Bits of “Before I Fall” were really starting to irk me, but in the end, it had such a positive message that pretty much destroyed all the bad schtuff, that I forgave it. (Even though there weren’t actual sex scenes, some of the conversations were starting to get to be a little much.)

    “The Anatomy of Wings” has some awful parts, too. It’s also very depressing.

    I’ve become a lot more open-minded when it comes to what is allowable in books that I read, versus what is not, however. It used to be (and perhaps rightly so, considering my age) that if anything like that was MENTIONED, I immediately put the book down and walked away. Now I’m reading a little more into the context to see WHY it was mentioned, because there could be a positive message looming somewhere on the, however dark, horizon.


    • If “Before I Fall” bothered you, then you REALLY don’t want to read “Water for Elephants,” haha. (I have to say, though, some of the conversations Sam has with her friends in that book get kind of… interesting, to say the least.)

      As you grow up, you get more open to that kind of stuff. I was the same way when I was your age, that I hated seeing it even mentioned, but I guess I’ve gotten so used to hearing people talk about it at school and everything that I’m more used to it now. It’s just the really vivid descriptions that bother me… like when I read “Beauty Queens” by Libba Bray over the summer, that was too much for me, but I suffered through it to see how it all turned out.


  3. “Water For Elephants” sounds like a book I read once called “One Day”. The plot was pretty interesting, so I kept reading; however, there were some…ahhhhh….”disturbing” scenes of disturbing-ness. (and I’m 5 years younger than you XP)


  4. Hey Julia! 😀 That’s one yummy-lookin’ popsicle you got there…. *jealous*

    So, to answer your questions about the gritty and sensual – I don’t like it. I don’t have much experience with guys either, but even if I had loads of guy friends and dudes fawning over me all the time, I still wouldn’t want to read the smutty stuff. I don’t always put the book down and walk away (I’m too OCD to give up on a book) but I do skip over stuff.

    There have only been a few times (when I was a totally naive 14 year old, innocently borrowing some of my grandma’s paperbacks) that I read through every bit of the… intimate… parts. I was so utterly horrified by it that I just couldn’t stop, and my imagination replayed the scenes over and over until it drove me crazy! Crazy, in the sense that I wished I could dunk my head in a bucket of ice-cold water and wash the images away.

    Also, I’ve been scouring Amazon for free Kindle books (mostly romance, because I’ve read all of Jane Austen’s books multiple times and I’m a hopeless romantic) and most of the time the sex catches you by surprise and has nothing to do with the plot or character development. Often, the characters aren’t even in love with each other, they just want to get laid with the smokin’ hot MC, which is *totally* opposite from what the book description had led me to believe! Those kinds of situations leave a sour taste in my mouth. The book could have been great, but the author spent so much time on sex and drama that the plot was underdeveloped and characters were the sideshow. These are the books that I happily give up on mid-way and delete from my Kindle without looking back. It drives me mad!!!


    • I know, right? It’s an Edy’s Fruit Bar, which I’m basically addicted to.

      Agreed. It just grosses me out, and while I feel like it might get easier to read after being in a relationship, I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable with it. (And I totally had a similar experience back when I was fourteen, too, haha! I was reading this story on a creative writing website, and it got kind of seriously gross, but I couldn’t stop reading in that same way that you can’t look away from a car crash, and then I felt sooo icky afterward. Like I felt like I needed to go take a shower or something.)

      I feel like a lot of people feel like they’re required to put sex in their books, or like they’ll sell more copies if there’s sex, and it’s just NASTY (and personally untrue). They forget that it’s supposed to be about the plot, not their disgusting “sensual” descriptions… It’s just. Ew. Gross.


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