Monday, September 28, 2015

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

I count on Jodi Picoult to write books I enjoy and Leaving Time was no exception. The last one of her books I read was The Storyteller, which is my favorite so far, but this was also a good read. I thought the elephant anecdotes were a bit overdone because many of them made the same points about these beautiful animals (that they are loving animals with long memories, a sense of family loyalty, and an ability to grieve). Also, the novel's beginning was a little slow for my taste, but once relationships were established the story drew me in.

Jodi Picoult always has believable, flawed characters in her novels. Alice, Thomas, Gideon, Nevvie, and Grace all have substantial flaws that make them interesting and so do Serenity and Virgil. Jenna also has her flaws, ones that are common among teenagers. She acts in ways that disrespect her grandmother's authority and she is impulsive. It isn't her mother she seeks as much as it is the assurance that her mother always loved her.

Serenity is a psychic who has had some problems, but has a long history of using her abilities to help police solve crimes. Jodi Picoult treated her abilities with respect, something I believe is important in any story that has a paranormal aspect.

The elephant stories are fascinating even if they are a little redundant. These animals seemed to have the traits of dogs. (Anyone who has ever loved a dog will know what a compliment that is.) I was surprised by some of the points made in the book, specifically how clueless the wildlife caretakers were concerning the reactions of elephants to the culling of their herds. But I wasn't surprised by how elephants care about each other and have very unique personalities.

Overall, this is another interesting novel from Jodi Picoult.

Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul and White Horse Regressions

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