From the outside, it would seem that Suze has everything she could ask for. She has a happy and stable marriage with Bob, a college professor. The coupe have been married for twenty years and have kids Skip, Ilana and David. Suze works as an editor for Marcus and Stern, a publishing company that specialises in publishing business books. So why is Suze so frustrated?
Well, that has just a little to do with the fact that she wishes she were closer to her two older children. Then there is also the fact that her book publishing company is not just publishing business books anymore, but is going mainstream. This does mean more business...but it also means more business opportunities. For certain people. Now the colleague that she did her best to stay away from is the boss from Hell, and she is required to get a best-selling book deal, on a subject she knows nothing about. To top it off, her husband, Bob, has been offered a working sabbatical halfway across the world in Australia for six months.
Whilst grappling with these problems in her present, it seems that Suze must make peace with her past in order to define her future.
I found this book very hard to relate to, or get into. It is essentially the journey of a woman who is at a turning point in her life and must decide what is most important to her in life: what she wants to keep and what she wants to change. However, whilst the character is in emotional turmoil, I found, as the reader, that I wasn't exactly sure of the message that the author was trying to convey. Suze spends so much of her time complaining about the circumstances she feels trapped in, that it was only until three-quarters through the book that the action starts to happen.
Then when the book does pick up, Suze goes from her old set of values bang into her new one-and then back again! This happens not just once, but numerous times, as one statement is made, and then in another scene, contradicted.
Admittedly, the work scenes were funny, and the characters of Elliot and Marcia were great: you really get a sense of them. Wanda, however, just seems like a cartoon. We've all had "the boss from Hell", but a little more elaboration on why she herself was so awful, instead of just a run-down on her awful outfits would have been good.
All in all, a very slow book with mixed messages. I rate "Walking with Elephants" 2 out of 4 stars.
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