By: Jodi Picoult
For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts.
Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest. The first is Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons—only to later doubt her gifts. The second is Virgil Stanhope, a jaded private detective who originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they’ll have to face even harder answers.
As Jenna’s memories dovetail with the events in her mother’s journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent page-turner, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.
Jenna has lived most of her life, since the age of three, wondering why her Mother left one night. Jenna has spent her entire life investigating her mother’s disappearance. Saving money from her babysitting jobs, Jenna is now thirteen years old and decides to approach a local psychic for help. Told from four points of view: Picoult’s newest novel shares the story of Jenna, our abandoned and lonely child; Alice, Jenna’s mother who researches elephants and their behaviors; Serenity Jones, a has-been psychic skeptical of her own gift; and Virgil Stanhope, the original investigator in Alice’s disappearance who is now jaded and no longer believes in happy endings.
Jenna’s search for her mother is desperate, at times a bit misguided, but she writes a teenager’s mind very well. Serenity’s lost her way, lost her psychic powers, and lost her career. She comes to view Jenna’s search for her Mother as a way to redeem all that she has lost. Virgil, our detective, sees Alice in his dreams. She’s the one case he hasn’t been able to forget, the one disappearance that still stews in his mind. Originally dismissive of Jenna’s research, he comes to view Alice almost as Abab did the great white whale. Drawn just as far in as Serenity, they join forces to help Jenna find out what truly happened that night over a decade ago. Finally, Alice, Jenna’s mother shares her story, both of her marriage to Jenna’s father and her research with her first love, the elephants she regards in such high esteem. The differing anecdotes about the elephants work perfectly in tandem with the plot points of the story and serve to reinforce various aspects of the story.
I was shattered by Leaving Time. Absolutely, gut wrenching sorrow paired with optimism, strength, and love, I was swept away into a land of a Mother’s embrace and an elephant’s grief. Completely different than any other Picoult book I’ve read, she uses the research with elephants to reinforce the themes of motherhood, growing up, and how the world deals with grief. Utterly lovely writing, I was transported into world filled with elephants, family issues, life, love and grief in a most stunning way. As with all Picoult books, you will be stunned by the absolute brilliance of the ending.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Date of Publication: October 14, 2014
# of Pages: 416
Source: Edelweiss - for Review
Location: New England