Dream Review of Walking With Elephants, a Top 5 Finalist for Best Indie Book of 2012
September 20, 2012
Karen Bell’s Walking with Elephants is a Top 5 Finalist for Best Indie Book of 2012 in the Romance Category. The contest is sponsored by Jeff Bennington and the Kindle Book review.
Authors always wonder and worry about the reviews their books will receive, and some are better than others. We asked Karen Bell to have a good time and write her dream review of the novel, and this is what she said.
The Dream Review
Walking with Elephants made me laugh, cry, and more importantly…think. Suze Hall is Ms. Bell’s Willy Loman. She is an everyday woman, a woman in midlife, an ordinary hard-working mother of three. She entered the workforce after her kids became school age. Not a great career-path choice for success. And this stay-at-home mother for several years, continues these established roles in her household. Basically she began her marriage by running the house and now she continues to do it all after a full day of work.
Ms. Bell cleverly removes Suze’s husband from the scene early in the novel, so that Suze can face her challenges alone. And there are many. She is thrust into the role of a single mother when her professor husband informs her that he is leaving the family for six months by taking a research sabbatical in Sidney, Australia. This happens just when her sleepy boutique publishing company has been bought by a conglomerate and her arch enemy is promoted to be her boss. By coincidence her first lover who is an renowned artist, and who broke her heart as a young girl, pops back in her life and can help her with her new task to acquire books on the subject of art. Through Suze’s thought processes we are privy to her feelings, her observations, and her humor in the face of adversity. Will she give in to the stirrings of her old passion? Will she prevail with the intrigue at work?
In Suze Hall, Karen Bell has created a character that is quite believable, relatable, and likable. We root for her, we cry with her, and we have a hearty chuckle at her predicaments. But Suze is more than just a storyline. She raises important questions about women’s role in modern society and the cost to families by a society that appears indifferent to the plight of working moms. In the last chapter of the novel, Suze writes an essay suggesting that perhaps life in our western societies would be better if woman were in charge.
Matriarchal societies are found in nature, elephants for example. And that’s when the reader gets the big reveal as to the title of this novel. The essay goes on to also support the empowerment of women but not women mimicking men, women as nurturers, strong goddess mothers. And thus the cover art is a perfect metaphor for the message in this novel; a goddess cradling the Earth.
Walking with Elephants is a wake-up call to women. A call to mentor each other in the workplace. A call to band together to advance some desperately needed workplace changes. For starters, in other countries maternity leave is at least a year, why not here?
Not only is Suze Hall Karen Bell’s every woman. She is you.
A must read.