- Publisher: BALLANTINE BOOKS (2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553841378
- ISBN-13: 978-0553841374
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 7,553 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,080,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Leaving Time Paperback – 2013
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I just closed this book, and I was actually sobbing From the start, it's a slow burn-- each character gets their own chapter, part of it's in past tense to slowly fill in information-- and it doesn't take long to care deeply about each of them. I'd follow each of these characters off a cliff.
Emotion aside, this was a fabulous read. The entire plot is heavily centered on elephants-- how they grieve and how scientists try to reckon what can be observed logically and what can be discovered by observing emotion. It ties in so well to the human drama, that the elephants aren't a background, but they're just as vital in their personalities as the people are. Family dynamics and their impact are the heart of the book.
It's a very matter-of-fact book at the start, our hero is an intelligent, funny young teenager named Jenna, who is a great mix of curious and stubborn without being annoyingly precocious. The book slowly starts descending into metaphysics/psychics, and one of the main characters is a disgraced psychic, so we are given hints at it. Still, bringing that element into a book centered around an endangered species and a skeptical ex-cop and scientists could have REALLY failed, if not for Picoult's deft touch. It really felt like she lived with her cast as she created them, and sometimes I was gripping the book hard, worried about them. As much as I love reading, that doesn't happen often.
A mix of thriller, mystery, family drama, love story and more... if you're a Picoult fan, I can't imagine you'd be disappointed. If you're a new reader to her, this is a fantastic place to start. Excuse me, now I need to go fix my mascara.
Add to that a great cast of characters and an excellent conclusion. Jenna is one of the best characters I've read in years. She's funny, sassy, and independent, but yet vulnerable. After reading Leaving Time if you haven't been changed or emotionally touched then you may not be human. I'm a big macho weightlifter guy and it had me in tears at times. When a novel can affect me that much it indeed deserves high accolades. One of the best books I've read in ages! Admittedly, this book won't be for every one because it's an emotional roll-a-coaster of love and loss and it is different(much) from what most people have read. If you've read Picoult before or are fan I suspect you'll love Leaving Time. If you're new to her or you think this might not be for you, then I recommend you take the leap. You may find a gem!
From reading other reviews, it seems some have problems with the amount of the story devoted to elephants and their society. It took me awhile to get into this aspect too, but a little learning dispensed with entertainment is never a bad thing. Others objected to the shifting points of view. But given the way the story ended, this was a necessary plot device.
And finally I found some plot elements implausible, again until the ending tied everything together with a reveal that made the reader look back at all the clues that had been supplied by the author right along. In this sense, the book reminded me so much of a very popular movie of several years ago, that I found myself smiling at the way I had failed again to see trail the author had laid. For those who have Kindles, the prequel novella “Larger Than Life” should be a must-read for the bread crumbs it also contains.