Sunday, August 2, 2015

Leaving Time, by Jodi Picoult

I find it hard to stop reading authors when I have "been with them" throughout their careers, even when their work has become tired/repetitive/etc. (I can do it, but it's a struggle.) Thus, I spent a good bit of yesterday reading this Jodi Picoult novel, which has many of the features of a standard Picoult novel: multiple narrators, a troubled family, and a current issue. The current issue in this case is the protection of elephants--from poachers in Africa and from zoos and circuses in the United States. The information about elephants is fascinating, especially the descriptions of their grieving, which happens to be the research focus of Alice Metcalf, the mother in the troubled family at the center of the story.

Alice disappeared 10 years ago, at the same time that another keeper at the family's private elephant refuge was killed; her husband has been in a mental hospital since. Their daughter Jenna, now 13, has decided to find her mother--or at least find out what happened to her. She enlists the help of a down-on-her-luck psychic and an alcoholic private investigator who had been a cop on her mother's case. The family story is fairly predictable until Picoult throws in a surprise near the end; normally, I like surprises, but because this one had to do with the woo-woo aspects of the story--in general, not my thing--I was quite unhappy. Once the secret was revealed, I could not help comparing the book to a popular movie of which it is quite derivative (I'm not naming the movie to avoid spoiling the book for others, although you might be able to guess--if so, sorry).

So did I like enough things about this book to say I'll read another Jodi Picoult? Perhaps--as long as it doesn't have a paranormal aspect!

Favorite passage:
In the wild we hear the pulsing, guttural musth rumbles of males--deep and low, puttering, what you might imagine if you drew a bow made of hormones against an instrument of anger.

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