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Posted 20 hours ago

Leaving Time (with Bonus Novella Larger Than Life)

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For the character of Alice, who studies elephant cognition, I went first to a professor at Vassar – Abigail Baird – who taught me all about the brain and how memory works. Alice, Thomas and Jenna lived and worked with Gideon and his wife Grace, and Grace’s mother Nevvie, all devoted carers for many years. Will Jenna find out what really happened to her mother all those years ago or will she be left with unanswered questions? This is another story (credit to author Jodi Picoult), that came vibrantly alive through 'all' the voices of the readers. I read "Where There's Smoke" and "Larger than Life" both prequels to "Leaving Time" I'd highly recommend reading them first as they give a real insight into 2 main characters.

The issue I had with the book is that Picoult allows the two percent to dominate the narrative making the ending seem ridiculous. All is not as it seems with any of these characters but the clues were right in front of me all along before the big revelation near the story's end. The caregivers eventually opened the gate between them and immediately Shirley and Jenny began to move in tandem – staying inseparable.The book contains a lot of information about elephants: how they live, what they eat, how they behave, how they play, how they grieve for deceased loved ones, and so on.

Just in case there are any film producers who read this (you never know), I think this book would make an excellent movie. At The Elephant Sanctuary, I met Sissy, an elephant who survived the 1981 Gainesville Flood by being submerged for 24 hours with only her trunk above water. Sixteen years passed, and these two matriarchs managed to whip the teen elephants into herd formation, going without human contact for 16 years.Three-year-old Jenna is led out to the sanctuary grounds by her babysitter Nevvie, who smashes Jenna over the head with a rock in revenge for her daughter's death. If you are concerned about elephants, donate time and money to an accredited anti-poaching organization. Sanctuaries allow an elephant to live out the rest of its life in a habitat that is hundreds of acres, and to not be on display -- in sanctuaries, elephants set their time for coming and going. She also wants to illustrate the parallel between elephant behavior towards their calves and Alice’s relationship with Jenna.

The book has an unexpected denouement which I found bewildering, and this reduced my overall enjoyment of the story.I began to do a little digging on elephants, and when I discovered that they actually grieve and experience and process loss, I was completely hooked, and knew I would be writing about what it meant to be left behind…and also that I had my profession for the character of Alice. We began our relationship when I read Salem Falls and was happy with the characterization and the twisty plot.

Their grieving rituals are remarkable too – an elephant will have a change in behavior if it comes across the bones of another elephant – getting quiet and reverential, and the tail and ears droop.I have loved Jodi Picoult's novels for a long time now, and am always eagerly awaiting the release of the next one.

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