*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Friday, September 28, 2018

"Leaving Time" 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 she was abandoned, 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: Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons, only to later doubt her gifts, and Virgil Stanhope, the jaded private detective who’d 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.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51awyZJCrfL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgJenna wants to find out what happened to her mother, Alice. Alice was an elephant researcher, first in Africa and later at an elephant sanctuary. Jenna knows there is more to the story of the night her mother disappeared and she is determined to piece the puzzle together. She asks for help from a psychic, Serenity Jones and a former detective, Virgil Stanhope. She believes that together, they can solve the mystery of what happened to Alice. In addition, the novel focuses on the perspective of Alice as she studies how elephants handle grief. We get insight into her studies and also her personal life.

I was really into this book, until the very end. I was captivated by Jenna's story and her desire to find out what happened to her mother. I loved Alice's point of view as she studied the elephants, and found this to be the most interesting parts of the novel. It made the desire to find out what happened to Alice stronger, as I got to know her. I listened to the majority of the book on audio discs in the car, but once I was near the very end (and didn't have anywhere to drive to), I downloaded the book on the Libby app so as to finish it that night. Once my son had gone to sleep, I stayed up way later than I should have, only to be incredibly disappointed in the ending. 

I've come to expect some sort of twist in Jodi Picoult's novels. Typically, the ending isn't what I expect, but I am never left unsatisfied. However, Leaving Time left me frustrated. I won't spoil the ending, but I felt that the was next to no set-up for it. I prefer when I don't guess the end of a novel, but get to have the "of course" moment when I realize that the author left a trail of clues that I just didn't piece together. Usually Picoult does this amazingly well. She gives enough information that I understand the ending without having to go back and re-read, but not so much that I am able to guess the ending halfway through the book. I suppose that this time around, I just couldn't handle the fact the paranormal had a part in this book's twist ending. The book wasn't so awful that I won't give Picoult another chance, but it does make me wary that I may not enjoy some of her other books quite as much.

Happy Reading!

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