- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (April 28, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345544943
- ISBN-13: 978-0345544940
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7,492 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Leaving Time (with bonus novella Larger Than Life): A Novel Paperback – April 28, 2015
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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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“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
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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!
It has multiple POV, which seems to leave some readers behind - or so it seems from what I have read in other reviews. I have never had a problem with that so it is no surprise that I had no problem with it here. And, as it happens, it is the best way to tell this particular story.
The narrative is deceptively simple. We have teen girl Jenna, her mother Alice who disappeared ten years ago when Jenna was a toddler, the psychic named Serenity that Jenna consults who was once a celebrity psychic, and the police detective named Virgil who investigated a death that occurred the day Alice disappeared. Jenna, Serenity and Virgil have all lost something that meant a great deal to them and are still reeling with that loss and trying to deal with it. Then there is Alice's diary, strewn with endless fascinating details about the elephants she loved, studied and based her research on. Specifically, her research regarding the grieving of elephants, both in the wild and in captivity. What keeps us reading is not just the characters but our curiosity - what exactly happened the day Alice disappeared and why has Jenna had no contact with her for a decade? The more we learn, the worse it looks for poor Jenna - or does it?
This is one of those books that reels you in slowly, drawing you into the story and bringing you close to the characters. At the heart is the mystery - where is Jenna's mother? - but each person's story, just like Alice's research, is about grieving. For Jenna, Serenity and Virgil, it is grieving for what was lost.
The ending came at me out of nowhere, and I am glad. None of the endings that seemed likely as I was reading the book would have been anywhere near as right, or as satisfactory, as the ending Picoult wrote.
Ever finish a book and have tears in your eyes, not sure if they are due to sadness or happiness? That is how I felt when I finished this book. Trust me, that takes some doing - I do not snivel easily.
No matter what book I read next, it will suffer in comparison just by being the book I read after this one.