Friday, February 06, 2015

Review: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Title: Leaving Time
Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: 14th October 2014
Pages: 398
Book Source: Own purchase

Synopsis: For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on her vanished mom Alice. Jenna searches online, rereads journals of the scientist who studied grief among elephants. Two unlikely allies are Serenity Jones, psychic for missing people who doubts her gift, and Virgil Stanhope, jaded PI who originally investigated cases of Alice and her colleague. Hard questions and answers.

My Thoughts:
I'm a Jodi Picoult fan, even though in recent years her novels have been hit and miss for me. The Storyteller (2013) was a definite hit, as was Leaving Time. 

Told from the perspectives of thirteen year old Jenna, her mother Alice, an elephant researcher missing for ten years, Virgil, former detective turned alcoholic PI and Serenity, a psychic who has lost both credibility and confidence. 

Leaving Time hooked me from the first page, I was equally enthralled with all four narrations, ok maybe a bit more so with Alice's just because of the elephants but my heart was in this one, all the way. Jenna's unrelenting search for her mother pulled at my heart strings; such fierce determination in one so young and when she convinces Serenity and Virgil to help in her search, this odd but endearing trio kept the pages turning themselves.  

My love of all things elephant far outweighed my surprise, tinged with a little disappointment in the you-had-to-go-there-it's-been-done-before twist. It could be something that kills it for you or you could be blown away and love it but then the same could be said of the elephant info-dump education. Me? ... I loved it, couldn't get enough in fact. 

I was 100% emotionally invested in the elephants; (especially Maura) their behaviours, emotions, mothering, nuturing, memory, protective instincts, grieving processes, the parallels between elephant and human families ... utterly fascinating. Jodi actually began writing Leaving Time as a way of coping with being an empty nester after reading an article about elephant mothers and daughters staying together their whole lives. 

Babies are the most precious things in an elephant's life.

The term given to the way babies are brought up in elephant herds is allomothering, a fancy word for "It takes a village." 

Thoroughly recommend this one if you love elephants and an intriguing mystery.  

and a quick heads up ... Larger than Life is a short story prequel to Leaving Time and an absolute must-read. It gives the reader background on Alice's life, her time in Africa spent researching elephants. It's the first time I've given a short story 5 stars, Jodi Picoult manages to pack so much emotion into so few pages. I wasn't quite so enamored with Serenity's story in the other short story prequel Where There's Smoke


PS. Thanks to my lovely friend Julie for encouraging me to check out the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee website. They do such amazing work with elephants, education, fundraising, ant-poaching efforts. I spent a tearful hour reading some of the elephant's stories. Jodi Picoult spent research time here, the elephants in Leaving Time's fictional sanctuary are based on elephants from The Elephant Sanctuary and there's an insightful interview with Jodi Picoult by National Geographic editor Don George. 


Connect with Jodi Picoult



20 comments:

  1. I can't wait to read this. Sadly my library still hasn't received a copy of the book so I think I am going to have to go to Wal-Mart and buy a copy for our shelves. I am so glad to hear such a positive review for this one. I didn't read her last one because it didn't appeal to me but I really enjoyed The Storyteller. I also love elephants so that will be an added bonus with this book :)

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    1. the elephants are a large part of Leaving Time, I bet you love it but I can't wait to see which way you go on the twist.

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  2. This isn't the first review I have read on this book... thinking I am going to get it!!! And with your love of elephants, you might want to check out this site .. http://www.elephants.com/ ... I have been a HUGE supporter of them for years ... their work is wonderful!!!! :)

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    1. thanks so much for the link Julie, I cried at some of the elephant stories on here. Jodi Picoult based the elephants in her sanctuary on the elephants from the Elephant Sanctuary Tennessee. What amazing work they do ... I amended my post to include the link ... I'd love to adopt an elephant, every little bit helps hey.

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  3. I am definitely going to read this book. Have heard so many great things about it. I've not read a Picoult book for a long time. I also want to read THE STORYTELLER and think I might have it already on my Kindle. Love the quotes about elephants and taking a village to raise a little one. I just keep thinking of the Disney film Dumbo and how sweetly his mother rocked him. Sniff.

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    1. oh Dumbo was one of my favourite movies as a kid, always made me cry. Hope you love this one and The Storyteller.

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  4. I just can't read her. I think she writes brilliantly and I love how much she furthers women in the industry. However her stories and I don't mesh. I am thrilled this was a win for you :)

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    1. it'd be a boring old world if we all liked the same thing lol and some of Jodi's haven't worked for me but overall I'm still a huge fan!

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  5. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this one, as Picoult's books have been hit or miss for me, too. Didn't enjoy Lone Wolf, e.g. But I couldn't put this one down...and surprisingly, even the heavily detailed parts grabbed my attention.

    Thanks for sharing....

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    1. so glad you felt the same Laurel. Have you read The Storyteller? What did you think?

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  6. She is more of a miss for me, but I did get this book based on the elephants. I will give it a try and see how I respond. Glad you enjoyed the book.

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    1. I thought the elephant research was brilliant, can't wait to see what you think Nise.

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  7. High praise for this one, I will keep it in mind. While I wouldn't think I'd like a lot of information on elephants the way you put it, I probably would. I remember reading a children's book with an elephant in it and it hooked me in. So maybe this one too.

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    1. I hope you pick this one up Kathryn, I guess the elephant research isn't for everyone but it really appealed to me. I have fond memories of an elephant sanctuary in Thailand we visited many years ago. I loved Dumbo as a child and also Babar lol

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  8. I stopped reading Picoult as the books were too too sad for me. This one sounds a tad different (I think). Thanks for the review.

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    1. I get where you're coming from Mystica. The plight of the elephants saddens me but I didn't find 'human' side of this story too sad.

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  9. I don't particular like the way Jodi Picoult's stories are told in multiple first person POV...however I think I will add this to my list. You're the 3rd person I know who has really enjoyed it! :-) and I do like a good animal story :-)

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  10. I like Picoult but it's been awhile since I read one. Often the sad plight of wild animals makes me so incredibly sad that I usually avoid them altogether.

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  11. I have never read a Jodi Picoult book, even though I have heard so many amazing things about the majority of them. It seems like you always have a chance of liking it or not doing so, so I am glad you were able to enjoy this one! I might start myself on this author with this one too :3

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  12. Thanks for sharing this review. I haven't read this book though have read most of her others. I wasn't sure about this novel but most people seem to love it!

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