LEAVING TIME by Jodi Picoult

LEAVING TIME

KIRKUS REVIEW

A decade after the disappearance of an elephant researcher, her 13-year-old daughter, a washed-up private detective and a has-been psychic team up to find answers.

As in Lone Wolf, (2012) Picoult uses fiction to illustrate the plight of animals who are being decimated by humans, in this case elephants who are endangered by everything from poachers to circuses. Teenage Jenna, daughter of missing-scientist Alice, launches a search for her mother, who vanished from the hospital after being found unconscious on the grounds of a New Hampshire elephant refuge where a co-worker was fatally trampled. Jenna's father, Thomas, has been in a psychiatric hospital since the incident, and she lives with her grandmother, who refuses to discuss Alice’s fate. Jenna shares narrative duties with three others: Virgil, a police detective–turned–drunken private eye whose law enforcement career crashed and burned as a result of the botched investigation into the trampling death; Serenity, a clairvoyant, who was a national celebrity until her spirit guides deserted her in the middle of the search for a senator’s kidnapped child; and Alice herself, who details past events leading up to the pivotal crisis. As a young graduate student doing fieldwork at an African game preserve, Alice studied the grieving rituals of elephants, which include revering the bones of departed ancestors and burying deceased loved ones with leaves and grass. In Africa, Alice recognizes a kindred spirit in a visitor, Thomas, who runs a New Hampshire sanctuary for abused elephants rescued from circuses and zoos. She joins him there, marries him, gives birth to Jenna and begins to question her husband's sanity. Thus the seeds are sewn for a thriller that involves noble pachyderms, adultery and a breathless chase across several states. The pages turn apace, though Virgil labors under too many noir clichés, and wisecracking Serenity seems to be on loan from a Susan Isaacs novel.

The ending borrows unforgivably from a source it would be equally unforgivable to reveal.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-345-54492-6
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2014




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Kirkus Interview
Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
authors of OFF THE PAGE
May 19, 2015

Meet Oliver, a prince literally taken from the pages of a fairy tale and transported into the real world. Meet Delilah, the girl who wished Oliver into being. In bestseller Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha van Leer’s new young adult novel, Off the Page, it’s a miracle that seems perfect at first—but there are complications. To exist in Delilah’s world, Oliver must take the place of a regular boy. Enter Edgar, who agrees to play Oliver’s role in the pages of Delilah’s favorite book. But just when it seems that the plan will work, everything gets turned upside down. We talk to the mother-daughter team on Kirkus TV. View video >

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