Walking With Elephants by Karen S. Bell
Publication Date: January 2010
Genre: Women's Fiction/Chick Lit
(Received for review from TLC Tours)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Books-A-Million
Karen S. Bell on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook
Excerpt from Walking With Elephants
Synopsis (Book Blurb):
Susan Hall is at a crossroads. Her nemesis at work, Wanda, has been promoted and is now her boss. Her husband, Bob, is leaving her and their three kids for a six-month sabbatical down under. Meanwhile Suze has to reunite with an old boyfriend in order to save her job and her best friend, Marcia, is missing in action - playing footsie with some new boyfriend instead of lending a sympathetic ear!
Walking with Elephants, is a lighthearted slice-of-life story that explores the modern dichotomy of a workplace that is filled with homemakers who still must cook, clean, carpool, and still make time to "create" the holidays. But it is also filled with women who have the same drive as men, have no family responsibilities, and will do whatever it takes to get ahead.
So step into the shoes of Suze Hall and commiserate over workplace politics, titillate your sexual fantasies, and ride the wave of a working mother, and fall-down laughing.
Karen S. Bell's debut novel, Walking With Elephants, takes readers on a whirlwind ride into the daily life of a working mother. Workplace politics, old boyfriends, and a husband on sabbatical come together in this wonderfully crafted novel about one woman's struggle to find herself amid the chaos of life. Bell's use of humor is engaging and allows the reader to feel at home and take comfort in the fact that no matter how things are going around you, you can still take time to see the lighter side of things.
Suze Hall is a working mom with three kids at home and a career in publishing. But life is about to make some changes! Suze is shocked to find that her husband has decided to take a sabbatical to Australia to work on a research project, and he intends to leave her and the kids at home for six months. On top of that the publishing company where she works has been bought out and her former boss is taking early retirement. It might not be so bad but her new boss is her worst work enemy, Wanda. Suze is given the task of working with some art books, which she knows nothing about and fears that Wanda plans to do away with her all together. When her ex-boyfriend from college re-enters her life, Suze comes face to face with some big decisions at home, at work, and inside herself.
Bell's use of humor really works in this novel . Sometimes when readers get really engrossed in a novel there needs to be something to break the tension and a good laugh-out-loud moment will really do the trick. Bell uses Suze's dialog with herself and her friends to bring across these moments with flying colors. Walking with Elephants is a funny, realistic glimpse into the life of a working mother. She goes to work everyday, but still has another life at home.
The main character Suze is so easy to identify with. There are so many women today that have to balance home and career and it's not easy to juggle carpooling, making dinner, cleaning the house and giving everyone the holiday they expect and still get up and go to work everyday. There just aren't enough hours in the day sometimes. Bell's portrayal of this working mom with issues as home as well as work is expressive and funny, but still carries the theme that you don't have be superwoman to have the life you want. Suze is charismatic and a little quirky. She has a great sense of humor and readers will really get a kick out of some of the stuff she says and they will sympathize with her as well. They will be mad a Wanda too, unsure of David and wonder what's up with Bob. As a reader I really enjoyed Suze, and felt that the supporting characters could have been developed a little more, but still added lots of flavor to the book. Suze's friend Marcia is a hoot and her gay co-worker Elliot is a life saver.
This is a book that women will fall in love with. The title for me was a little confusing, but once I got into the book I felt more at ease with it. The cover is interesting, using the black silhouette, but I think the combination of title and cover may not have been enough for me to pick it up off the shelf and think I would enjoy enough. Luckily, I did read this one and was able to find a great story within. Just goes to show that sometimes you can't judge a book by it's cover.
I recommend this one to women who are looking for a great character driven read that is humorous and easy to identify with. With solid characters and a great premise this one you won't want to miss. I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.
Walking With Elephants is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Walking With Elephants is Karen Bell's first novel, although she is not new to writing. After earning a graduate degree in mass communication she spent 15 years as an editor and writer for business materials. She says, "Inspiration for this novel came from my direct contact with the joys of Corporate America and the balancing act that comes with being a working mother." Currently, Ms. Bell resides in Ponte Verda, FL with her husband and photos of her children, granddaughters, and sonogram of her new grandbaby who live everywhere BUT Ponte Verda, FL.