Review 22: Still Life with Elephant by Judy Reene Singer

13 Mar

[Spoilers abound in this post, beware]

Half of this book I hated, because it felt contrived, and didn’t add anything original to the women’s fiction genre that I truly adore.  Neelie’s husband has an affair with the chipper female co-owner of his veterinarian practice and gets her pregnant. He doesn’t even have the guts to tell Neelie himself; his mistress tells her. And then Neelie discovers that he (a) dated his mistress in vet school, which makes her feel like her marriage is null and void and (b) he had drained their accounts, mortgaged their home and basically stolen all of her money.

So, in the grand tradition of a thousand chick lit novels, Neelie must decide what to do with her marriage.  I hated this part, because Neelie was frustrating and oblivious and needed to be saved.  Ultimately, she meets a rich, handsome man who loves animals as much as she does and he saves her from the wreckage of her failed marriage and a sad tragedy in her past. Of course. I just hated that she didn’t really end up fixing her own life. Her friends, family and new lover fixed it for her.

But the other half of this book, I loved. Neelie was a horse trainer. And as part of her self discovery, she tags along with a mission to steal an elephant from Zimbabwe, and she ends up training the elephant upon their return. Her interactions with animals were fantastic. The author did a great job seamlessly integrating the reader into the world of horse training. The process of training horse, and elephants, was fascinating and heartbreaking and funny all at once. If this book was 100% awesome horse trainer, and 0% cliche failed marriage story, I would’ve loved it. It was just subject matter I’ve never seen covered in this kind of book, and as an animal lover, it felt tailor made for me.


One Response to “Review 22: Still Life with Elephant by Judy Reene Singer”


  1. HelloKatieO’s #CBR5 Review #22: Still Life with Elephant by Judy Reene Singer | Cannonball Read V - March 13, 2013

    […] But the other half of this book, I loved. [hint: it involves elephants!] […]

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