Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

When was the last time you read a book that left you sobbing at the end?  Leaving Time was just such a book for me.  That makes it particularly hard to write a review of this book as I don’t want to ruin the experience for someone else!

Leaving Time had a very unique premise.  Jenna Metcalf is a young thirteen old girl that wants to finally discover the truth behind her mother’s appearance.  Her mother was an elephant researcher, Alice Metcalf, who disappeared when Jenna was only three.  Jenna’s parents ran an elephant sanctuary in Northeast United States.  Through some sort of strange series of events a woman was trampled to death at the sanctuary and Alice was found farther away knocked out.  After being taken to the hospital, she checked herself out in the night never to be seen again.  Where did Alice go?  Is she still alive?

Jenna enlists the help of Serenity, a psychic who was once famous, but has lost her power.  Serenity seems to be able to help Jenna find clues, and together the two of them enlist Virgil, the original detective on the case who now a drunken private eye.  Virgil is sure he made a mistake a decade before.  Will this cast of misfits solve the mystery?

The narrative is told from Jenna, Serenity, and Alice.  Alice’s point of view is her research into the grieving of elephants and motherly bonds that she first researched in Africa, and then starts telling her story of meeting Thomas, Jenna’s father, and her journey to living at an elephant sanctuary and becoming a mother.  I really liked the narrative and found it unique.  The story was engaging and page turning and I really liked the characters.

This book was a second book choice for the FLICKS (aka Rogue) Book and Movie Club.  We sadly had to cancel our May meeting due to everyone being busy.  I hope that we get to discuss our books at some point!  This one has a lot to discuss, especially as mothers.

My favorite quotes:

“I would argue that there is a special empathy elephants have for mothers and children – either their own species’s or another’s.  That relationship seems to hold a precious significance and a bittersweet knowledge:  An elephant seems to understand that if you lose a baby, you suffer.”

“There’s no biological advantage to grief.  In fact, in the wild, it can be downright dangerous to be moping around or swearing off food.”

“It is a fact universally acknowledge, there is not greater force on earth than a mother’s revenge.”  I love Serenity’s call back to Pride and Prejudice here.

Overall, Leaving Time is a very engaging novel, with a unique storyline and great characters.  I really like the story of grief, of mothers and daughters, and how much I learned about elephants.  I also like learning more about psychics as well.  I highly recommend this book . . . although bring a box of Kleenex when you are reading it!

Book Source:  The Kewaunee Public Library


  1. A new book for me. Thanks for the review.

  2. Laura, this sounds like a very absorbing novel by Jodi Picoult. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it, and for continuing to participate in the JP Project. Excellent review and quotes!