Walking with Elephants
Karen S. Bell
Urban, Contemporary, Women, Romance, Paranormal and Supernatural
November 18, 2011
Suze Hall is at a crossroads. Her nemesis at work, Wanda, has been promoted and now will be her boss. Her husband, Bob, is leaving her and the three kids for a six-month sabbatical down under. To top it off, her best friend, Marcia, is missing in action—playing footsie with some new boyfriend! Adding to this disaster stew, David, the gorgeous hunk who broke her young-girl’s heart has coincidentally popped back into her life and has something she desperately needs to keep her job.
Walking with Elephants, a lighthearted slice-of-life story, brings to the table the serious work/family issues facing women today. It explores the modern dichotomy of a workplace that is filled with homemakers who still must cook, clean, carpool on nights and weekends, shop for prom dresses, and “create” the holidays—such as Suze.
But it also is filled with women who have the same drive as men, have no family responsibilities, and will do what ever it takes to get ahead.
So step into the shoes of Suze Hall and commiserate over workplace politics, titillate your sexual fantasies, ride the wave of a working mother, and fall-down laughing.
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Walking with Elephants will make you laugh, cry, and more importantly...think. Suze Hall is 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 at work.
Suze’s husband is removed 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 a 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?
But Suze Hall 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.