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A story that encompasses love in both the human and elephant world!

Leaving Time - Jodi Picoult

The author has woven a tale whose outcome will definitely surprise the reader at the end, so don’t peek as this mystery unravels. Jenna is a precocious 13 year old searching for her mother, Alice, who disappeared years ago, when she was a baby. She engages the help of a psychic, Serenity Jones, and a broken down former cop, Virgil Stanhope, the original cop investigating the dreadful accident at the elephant sanctuary which her parents owned and which led to Alice’s disappearance and an already ill Thomas’s complete and utter breakdown.

Before her mom met and married her dad, Alice had lived in Botswana, caring for and researching elephant behavior. When her dad visited Botswana, they met and were attracted to each other. Alice soon discovered she was pregnant so she traveled to America to decide whether or not to tell Thomas, and soon after, they married. They then ran the sanctuary together with the help of other employees.
Jenna’s parents, both scientists had been devoted to working with the elephants. Her father, however, is now institutionalized, having suffered a complete break from reality. Her mother, you know, is missing. The story does not proceed in a straight line and it is sometimes confusing as it goes back and forth from the present to the past, as each character’s life is explored and exposed. The reader is tossed and turned by the events and constantly surprised by the astute revelations of the teen. She seems to be the smartest one, at times, although she sometimes behaves in a manner which is shocking as she is also disobedient and rude much of the time. She alternates between being the only adult in the room to having immature emotional reactions

After the tragedy at the sanctuary and Alice’s disappearance, Jenna wants to know for certain that her mom loved her and would never have left her baby behind, willingly. Jenna, who is portrayed as having been brought up by her grandmother whom she disobeys with abandon, is obsessed with finding her. She cannot find peace any other way.

The scientist, Alice, studied how elephants displayed grief and how they dealt with their emotional attachments to other elephants. The author presents a wealth of interesting and informative details about elephants and their way of life. Anyone who has even a remote interest in elephants will find the details fascinating. Alice, like the author, bitterly resents the mistreatment of elephants and the poaching of elephant tusks. Many of the elephants experiences described are modeled after actual elephant events.

Secrets abound in each of the character’s lives, as does a bit of the supernatural. The loose ends, however, will all tie up in the end. I can write no more without giving away the story, so relax, enjoy and read.