Reviewed By Christine Nguyen for Readers’ Favorite
Elephants In the Room: Short Fiction and Essays by Charlene Wexler is a compilation of stories about the author’s life growing up in the mid-fifties in Chicago: a much more innocent, wholesome America that many of us readers have only witnessed on television. Now, we are lucky enough to read about it as Wexler takes us into her family, what it was like growing up Jewish in a middle class family where her father was a pharmacist and her mom a stay at home mother. Divorce was a scandal in those days and Wexler went to college for a Mrs. Degree, as in trying to catch a husband in college as that was the highlight of each girl’s career back then. The stories chronicle the most important aspects of the author’s life, the whole cycle of coming of age for a young girl into adulthood into motherhood, and into the winter of her life. It was a different time and a different era.
Charlene Wexler winsomely spins her stories with real personality and heart. The author has a way of getting to the essence of what is important in life – love, family, food, happiness. The reader is pulled into her life of how it was to grow up in the fifties and the normal cycles of each person’s life. Elephants in the Room was one of my favorites as it captured the essence of what family is: having people in your life that know your whole history and what you are really like. Being with people that will call out the elephant in your life and support you no matter what. Loss and Grief was her nightmarish account of when she lost her son due to cancer at such a young age. Her pain and anger were palpable, my heart just ached. There are so many wonderful stories, and wait until you read about her funny pets. Readers will surely love Charlene as I do! These short stories touched my emotions. I enjoyed reading them – some made me laugh, some made me cry.