Leaving Time, the latest novel by Jodi Picoult, is perhaps not the most original book to start reviewing in 2015, but it was a book I started before the new year. A longtime fan of her novels, it made sense to keep it as my first book review for “My Homemade Library”.
Leaving Time is a novel about elephants, mother/daughter relationships, wonder, memory and escape. At least this is how I would describe the novel. As a whole, Leaving Time is so much more! Another well-researched (whoa, the research!), relationship-based novel that is told in many voices. To me, this is the hallmark of a great Jodi Picoult book. How she writes in such varied voices…it’s amazing and a great talent! I’ve always loved that about her works. How often have you read a book only to want to hear “the other side of the story”? In this story, we listen to the words of Jenna (the daughter), Alice (the mother), Serenity (the psychic) and Virgil (the private investigator). They all have a story to share, their own story, and all have common ground in the search for Jenna’s mother Alice, an elephant researcher who disappeared 10 years ago following a murder (we are told) in the elephant enclosure. Jenna, only three years old at the time, is found hidden and away from the dead body. Now a teenager, Jenna is eager to find out what happened to her mother – did she leave by her own free will, was she murdered? – and hires PI Virgil and psychic Serenity to help in her search.
As the investigation unfolds, the story of Alice is told through her journal writing. We learn about her elephant research, how she came to the elephant sanctuary, and her relationship with Jenna’s father Thomas.
What Jenna wants most is to know she was not abandoned by her mother. Wise beyond her young teenage years, Jenna is savvy enough to hire the investigator in charge of the murder all those years ago, and a psychic who once saw fame and glory and is now giving readings to small town clientele.
As we weave through the tales of these characters, a road trip is taken and a bond is formed by unlikely friends. As always, Picoult leads us to a stunning conclusion that left me thinking for days.
I really enjoyed Leaving Time and loved learning more about the lives of elephants. It was a novel that highlighted this interesting mammal in ways that isn’t often portrayed. You can’t help but follow through and visit some websites recommended in the Acknowledgements section of the book. When you read a book that leads you wanting to know more about a topic you never thought much about in the first place…well, that’s a good book in my eyes.
I most definitely place Leaving Time in my top 3 books of Jodi Picoult’s novels.
Recommended titles by Jodi Picoult: Plain Truth, Keeping Faith and Nineteen Minutes.
Click here to learn more about Jodi Picoult