An old Cherokee is teaching his grandchild about life:
‘A fight is going on inside of me..It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolvees. One wolf is evil- he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, guilt, self-pity, resentment, inferiority, deception, false pride, ego, and superiority. The other wolf is good- he is peace, love, hope, joy, serenity, humility, benevolence, empathy, empathy, generosity, truth and faith. The same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.’
‘Which wolf will win?’
The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘ The one you feed’.
I approached this book with a bit of apprehension due to my own
food-related issues as a teenager. It is not easy, however important, to
write about this sensitive topic.
I needn’t have worried. The book is kind and patient, and lyrical at times.
At the beginning Simone Wheeler’s voice is sad and resigned. She is about to be sent to Kamama camp for girls with morbid obesity. Her brother Bucky informs her that Kamama is the Cherokee for ‘an elephant’. She is about to embark on a life full of meagre food, obstacle courses and most dreaded powwow/group sharing sessions. But it is not all that simple and straightforward.
“A butterfly looks like it has elephant ears when it stretches out its wings, and an elephant has ears like a butterfly, so the Cherokee use Kamama for both elephant and butterfly’. Both are beautiful and special creatures. Just as Simone and her new friends.
I loved the slow reflective pace of this book. Whenever there is a lot of hard work to do (and personal development is always hard), things do not happen overnight. I also loved the emphasis on communication and friendship to combat loneliness and self-isolation and, above all, active acceptance.
Beautiful setting, vivid, memorable characters. I keep thinking about the book and I’ve realized that I know quite a lot of people who have had similar life experiences and struggled to find their way of dealing with the issues.
Thank you to NetGalley and Leslie Tall Manning for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.