Book Review: Leaving Time, by Jodi Picoult

Available now in bookstores nationwide.

Jodi Picoult certainly writes a compelling book – readers all over the world can’t put her bookscv_leaving_Time down and when they finally do, they are often left sobbing. This is an emotional book, but not as devastatingly so as some of her others.

Picoult’s meticulous research really comes to the fore in Leaving Time. The central character, Alice Metcalf, is an elephant researcher who becomes obsessed with the apparently emotionally driven activities of elephants. Against her science training, and her colleagues’ recommendation, she begins to appropriate human traits upon the elephants. She documents the relationships between elephant mothers and children; and she starts to believe that elephants grieve. She sees and documents evidence of it.

Ultimately Alice’s experiences lead her to follow her other love, Thomas, who owns an elephant sanctuary, to the USA. The sad stories of these elephants – largely unwanted and traumatised circus animals – is thought-provoking. By the time we enter this world, Thomas is locked away in a mental institution, Alice is missing and presumed dead, and their teenage daughter Jenna is determined to find out what happened to her mother. She enlists the support of a disgraced TV psychic and the original police investigator of the crime.

The parallels between elephant maternal instinct and grief and the human experiences are intentional, but not forced. The mystery that envelopes the story is finally resolved in a suprising, clever way.

I enjoyed this story and wasn’t left as emotionally wrought as previously with Picoult’s books. And that is a good thing.

Reviewed by Gillian Torckler

Leaving Time
by Jodi Picoult
Published by Allen & Unwin
ISBN 9781743317211

Email digest: Monday 16 July 2012

This is a digest of our Twitter feed that we email out most Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Sign up here for free if you’d like it emailed to you.

Events
Meet the winners of the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards http://ow.ly/cfSXd

Warm Auditorium – poet James Brown on Radio NZ this afternoon http://bit.ly/SqOeKn on his new collection http://bit.ly/H9ifq


Book reviews
New Zealand Film an illustrated history + competition http://wp.me/p1boF0-zE

Fuss-Free Suppers by Jenny Kay and Elinor Storkey http://wp.me/p1boF0-zu

The Trouble with Fire by Dame Fiona Kidman http://wp.me/p1boF0-zj


Book recommendations
My top-5 teen tear jerkers http://wp.me/p2sJ3O-1l

Wellington City Library blogged: Intriguing picture books for older children: Spend some time reading aloud to your older kids, they … http://bit.ly/NJpknY


From around the internet
More from Michael Cunningham on last year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction controversy: How to define greatness? http://ow.ly/cfTYl

Jodi Picoult and her 16-year-old muse – Life & Style – NZ Herald News http://nzh.tw/10819886

Email digest: Monday 25 June 2012

This is a digest of our Twitter feed that we email out most Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Sign up here for free if you’d like it emailed to you.

Events
This Thursday Cook the Books is having a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity – details on our calendar

Book News
As independent bookstores crash and burn in USA and UK, the book market in France is doing just fine

You can find events for National Poetry Day on our website. Scroll to 27 July for the action

New releases
Eruption! Discovering New Zealand volcanoes by Maria Gill from New Holland

Walker Books July Highlights

60 Million Gingernuts by Peter Janssen

Scholastic NZ: July titles

Book reviews
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

Read LA Times review of Jodi Picoult’s Between the Lines and see her live in Auckland 23 July

The Ant and the Ferrari By Dr Kerry Spackman

From around the internet
Hear Noel Murphy of the NZ Book Council chat to Radio NZ about us being Guest of Honour country at Frankfurt

Opportunities
Poets if you have a love for good poetry and good food you might like this competition