Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Leaving Time

The blurb: Jenna Metcalf was with her mother the night she disappeared, but she remembers nothing. In the wake of those tragic events, she has lost not one parent, but two: her father is in an asylum, and now she lives with her grandmother - who finds it too painful to talk about what happened. Ten years on, Jenna is the only one who still seems to care. And she is determined to seek the truth, no matter how shocking and life-changing it might be...

Rating: 3/5 stars

I want to start by saying that Jodi Picoult is one of my favourite authors. Every one of her books I've read in the past has been not only enjoyable, but emotionally gripping as well as educational. I always come away feeling like I've learned a lot, or formed a new opinion, as the majority of Jodi's books involve a moral dilemma or social issue, and are usually centered around a court case. Leaving Time wasn't an exception to this - in this case, I learned a lot about elephants which just happen to be my favourite animal! During her investigations, our main character Jenna looks for clues as to what happened in her mother's academic journals of her research into how elephants grieve. Jodi's books always seem to be impeccably researched and I would say the same about Leaving Time, but I don't think this was woven into the story quite as neatly as usual. Most of this background came in big chunks in the chapters written from the point of view of Alice, Jenna's mother. Large parts of the book read like non-fiction because of this which, if you don't love elephants as much as I do, could be quite tedious.

Another reason I don't think this is Jodi's strongest work is because, put simply, it's a very strange read. From the description you'd be forgiven for thinking it was your average mystery story, but it's also about a number of other things, including psychics and the supernatural. All perfectly good themes, but I'm not sure they really fit together and it was quite difficult to stay interested in places - had it not been for the elephants, I might have given up long before reaching the end. The twist really didn't wow me at all, although I will admit that I didn't see it coming!

I've never had to suspend belief to read any of Jodi's books before, and she's not an author I turn to for a fantasy or supernatural story - the reason she is a favourite of mine is because she can usually make me think, inspire a debate or offer me a different perspective. Unfortunately I can't say the same for Leaving Time, and I think she would be better off sticking to the real world for her next book.

Have you read Leaving Time, or anything else by Jodi Picoult?

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