Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Review: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Leaving Time
by Jodi Picoult, author
Audiobook, Published October 14th 2014 by Random House Audio
Read by: Rebecca Lowman, Abigail Revasch, K├Ąthe Mazur, Mark Deakins
Dates listened: April 16 - May 12, 2017

Jenna Metcalf is a 13-year-old girl searching for her mother who mysteriously disappeared after a tragic accident 10 years earlier. She can't imagine that her mother would intentionally leave her behind and feels the urge to find out why she left without saying goodbye or even taking her only daughter with her. She reads and re-reads her mother's journals to learn more about her and feel closer to the woman she barely remembers and longs to know and love in real-time.

Jenna is living with her grandmother because her father has been in a mental health institution since the accident. She takes matters into her own hands by hiring Virgil, the former cop turned private investigator who originally worked on the case at the elephant sanctuary her parents ran and where the accident happened. She also hires Serenity, a forgotten psychic who has doubted her abilities since being publicly shamed and embarrassed for making a mistake on a case years ago, and eventually learns through Jenna that she hasn't completely lost her abilities after all.

In typical Jodi Picoult fashion, we get each character's stories from their own perspectives. From Alice Metcalf's love of elephants and doing research for her Ph.d in Africa to meeting Thomas Metcalf during his visit to Africa to join one of her research expeditions. They discover their shared love of elephants - his love leading him to build and run a sanctuary for elephants harmed in captivity. Her love for elephants and for Thomas lead her back to the States and to many twists and turns in New Hampshire that involve their daughter, Jenna, and the sanctuary staff.

Leaving Time is well-researched and well-written, yet I didn't connect with the characters nearly as much as I have with her other books because they didn't seem to be as developed as characters in her other books, the plot line was a bit hard to "get lost in," it seemed like she was trying too hard to write a story with a psychic in it, and the twist at the end was a bit flat. Not only was it expected, it was also a bit weak and left me thinking THAT WAS IT?! And what happens next? How are they going to live after these events? It wasn't the ending I wanted for Jenna and Alice or for me as the reader.

Rating: 3 out of 5 - It was okay. Not for me. I can see why others enjoy it. Recommend.


  1. I agree that this book doesn't seem to have the usual flow and character development of most of Picoult's other books I have read. Her research into the lives/behavior of elephants was fascinating and, as always, done with her usual thoroughness. The ending was a disappointment for me though. Maybe is was because the psychic/occult is not a favored genre of mine. My least favorite book of hers so far.

    1. I'd have to agree that it's my least favorite so far too. I do like to read about psychic and the occult, but only if it's done well and it's not necessarily something I'd intentionally seek out though either. The whole story, especially the ending, seemed half-assed and most especially compared to her other books.

  2. I haven't read a Picoult novel although a lot of people seem to love them and I want to try one in the future. I don't think I will start with this one though. It's a shame it didn't have enough depth with the characters and felt like it was trying too hard :/

    1. I'd recommend The Pact, My Sister's Keeper, or Plain Truth to start with. I think those are some of het better books. I am working on a Top 10 Favorite Jodi Picoult books post.