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Leaving Time: A Novel Hardcover – October 14, 2014
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2014: Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time weaves elephant behavior into a search for a missing mother. The connection isn't as odd as it might sound at first, and Picoult has written another page-turning novel, even as it focuses on motherhood, loss, and grief. Teenager Jenna Metcalf was just three years old when her mother disappeared from an elephant sanctuary. Ten years later, she takes up the search for her mother, Alice, by studying Alice’s decade-old journals on grieving elephants. The research itself is fascinating, the hints about Alice’s disappearance are compelling; but Jenna cannot find her mother on her own. By enlisting the help of a formerly famous—now infamous—psychic, as well as a down-and-out private detective whose career went south during the botched investigation of Alice's disappearance, Jenna forms a sort of new family to help her in her quest. As the facts begin to come together—described in alternating chapters by Jenna, the psychic, the private detective, and Alice’s journals—it all heads toward a thrilling conclusion. And, yes, there is a big twist at the end. – Chris Schluep
“Piercing and uplifting . . . a smart, accessible yarn with a suspenseful puzzle at its core.”—The Boston Globe
“Poignant . . . an entertaining tale about parental love, friendship, loss.”—The Washington Post
“A riveting drama.”—Us Weekly
“[A] moving tale.”—People
“A fast-paced, surprise-ending mystery.”—USA Today
“In Jenna, [Jodi] Picoult has created an unforgettable character who will easily endear herself to each and every reader. . . . Leaving Time may be her finest work yet.”—Bookreporter
“[A] captivating and emotional story.”—BookPage
“With plenty of twists and a surprising ending, [Leaving Time] explores the grieving process and what happens when we cannot move on.”—Woman’s Day
“A moving and emotional story.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“A truly engaging read . . . Full of the deep characters and multilayered story lines that have earned [Picoult] a spot in many readers’ hearts.”—Library Journal
“Delivers a powerhouse ending.”—Booklist
“Memorable and poignant.”—Publishers Weekly
Top customer reviews
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!
The story explores the bonds of love between mother and child in both the human and elephant world and what happens when those bonds are broken and there is only grief left. The book is both insightful and moving.
The story moves at a steady pace and twists and turns in all sorts of unexpected directions as 3 of the characters try to unravel a potential murder mystery. I found it easy to jump between characters as they told their own story but I see from the reviews that not everyone thought the same.
Personally, I absolutely loved it. I really do think it’s one of Picoult’s best. I’ve always kind of liked elephants but by the end of this book I think I’ve fallen in love with them.
The characters are great – all so different from each other and completely believable. They’re really flawed, don’t make the best decisions in life and each of them ends up paying for it in some way. The only problems I had were Alice’s loose moral attitude and Jenna’s extremely adult thoughts and conversations. However, I am so glad I persevered because these things were necessary for the story.
The ending was really well written and it had me in tears. This is one of those books I couldn’t put down and was gutted to finish.