Monday, October 20, 2014
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult: a review
I don't even remember when I read my first Jodi Picoult book, but once I did, I was immediately hooked. There is something about the way she writes that leaves you wanting more. If you've read her books, you know that there is usually a twist of some sort that leaves you breathless with anticipation. Leaving Time was no exception.
When I heard that there was a new book coming out, it became my most anticipated read of the year, and I could not wait until October 14th. I think my husband got tired of listening to me prattle on about how a new Jodi Picoult book was coming soon (this started in January)!
Leaving Time tells the story of 13 year old Jenna Metcalf who is looking for her mother, a scientist who has spent her life studying elephants. Jenna was born on her parent's elephant sanctuary, which while a safe place for elephants, was not a safe haven for people after an accident left one worker dead, and Jenna's mom, Alice, missing.
Jenna lives with her grandma because after the accident her father has a mental breakdown and lives in a psychiatric facility. Jenna knows that her mother would never leave her, and sets out to find her. In her quest, she befriends two very unlikely allies. Virgil is a retired police detective who originally worked on the accident at the sanctuary. Serenity is a disgraced psychic who has lost her psychic abilities, but doesn't have the heart to turn Jenna away.
One of the (many) reasons that I love Jodi Picoult's books is because I always learn something. The story is told from Jenna, Alice, Serenity, and Virgil's perspectives with Alice's story detailing her work with elephants. Elephants are absolutely fascinating creatures. Did you know that they grieve like humans, and recognize people they haven't seen in years?
Because this is a Jodi Picoult book, I knew there was a twist coming, and come it did! I realized the twist a page before it was revealed, but even if you figure it out sooner, it won't take away anything from your reading experience. Once it was revealed, I went back and re-read some parts of the book that were now enhanced because of the reveal.
I really can't gush about this book enough. It is intelligent, engrossing, and moving. You will not be able to put this down until you finish. Before you read this, you can read the two companion novellas (Larger than Life focuses on Alice, and Where There's Smoke focuses on Serenity). They will definitely leave you wanting to read Leaving Time even more!
Now that I've read this, I guess I have to go back to waiting for her next book. This book will stay with me for a long while, though, and will make the wait easier.
If you're interested in learning more about elephants and ways to help them, visit www.elephants.com, which is the site for an actual sanctuary in Hohenwald Tennessee. Some of the elephants in Leaving Time are based on elephants at the sanctuary.