Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult: A Review

Fair warning, this post has spoilers for Leaving Time, written by Jodi Picoult! 

I checked off my first April goal this past weekend when I finished Leaving Time. 

From AmazonFor 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. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent page-turner, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.

I enjoyed parts of this book more than others. 
My heart broke for the elephants who suffered both in the wild and in captivity,
 especially after hearing Jodi speak about her time in Africa preparing for this book.  I liked reading about the lengths that 13-year-old Jenna went to to try to find her mom. I was so engrossed in her mother's story. Did Thomas's mental illness lead him to murder his wife? Did the elephants just lose it? I was on the edge of my seat until the book's climax.

As for the ending... I hate spending so much time with a book/movie/show only to realize at the end that everyone was already dead. (The ending of Lost drove me absolutely insane.) It just makes the whole experience feel like a waste of my time. The fact that Jenna and Virgil were dead the whole time seemed to come out of no where, but not in a positive way. The book spent almost 400 pages building to the events that happened on the night that Jenna's mother disappeared, but this was then rushed through and overshadowed by, "Surprise! Everyone's already dead!" It's not that I don't like books about the supernatural, I just prefer to know what I'm getting into. To me, this book was more about elephants' grief and how it parallels and differs from humans' than spirits walking among us, and I felt like this twist really took away from the rest of the story. 

Have you read Leaving Time? What were your thoughts on the ending? 


  1. I'm glad you posted this. You and I pretty much had the exact thoughts on this book. I was SUPER disappointed bc Jodi is one of my all-time favorite authors and I love every other book of hers. Like, LOVE LOVE LOVE every other book of hers.

  2. My favourite author ever! Will have to give it a read!