Book Review: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

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Which is the largest living land mammal? If you are thinking of elephants, then you are right! Do you know Elephants are considered one of the world’s most empathic species? Are you aware that in the wild elephant, mother and daughter stay together until one of them dies? If you feel like digging more inside, then here I am reviewing “Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult” that explore many interesting facts about the elephant and, in parallel, explore the mother-daughter relationship about the idea that those we can’t forget are never truly gone.

Leaving time by Jodi Picoult follows the adventures of thirteen-year-old Jenna, who has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who has disappeared in tragic and mysterious circumstances. Over ten years have passed, and she studies her mother’s journals, hoping to find some clue of her disappearance. Desperate for answers, Jenna recruits help from a psychic and private investigator. This story is an emotional read along with a complicated mother-daughter relationship. It dwells on grief and provides many opportunities for facilitating discussion.

There is also a great deal of focus in this book on elephants. You will study the research on elephants, particularly the aspect of their grief, which is quite instructive. The book also discusses the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter. After you feel immersed in the story, you realize what it means to be left behind and conclude that people you never love truly leave you.

It’s intriguing to see where this story goes, how some mystery unfolds, how it arouses your curiosity. Here I’ll give you a summary of the novel so that I won’t spoil the fun for you.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult | Book Review 

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult Quotes


Jodi Lynn Picoult 

The American author, Jodi Lynn Picoult, has written 27 novels, which have been translated into 34 languages and have sold 40 million copies. Nesconset, New York, on Long Island, U.S., was born. She studied creative arts at Princeton University and graduated with an A.B. in English. Picoult graduated from Harvard University with a master’s degree the following year. She became the writer of the D.C. comic Marvel superhero series Wonder Woman.

As a popular and sometimes controversial writer, she is paradoxical. She has received numerous awards such as the New England booksellers award for fiction in 2003, Waterston’suthor of the year (U.K.), and many more. In 2014, Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, published her twenty-third novel, Leaving Time.

Overview | Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

A contemporary mystery by Jodi Picoult was published on October 14, 2014, titled Leaving time. Jodi Picoult, a number one bestselling author, deals with themes of love and loss, reveals that those we can’t forget are never truly gone, and explains the meaning of motherhood to show you how far we would go for love. The book contains many chapters about elephant behavior. An engaging tale about a daughter searching for his mother disappeared more than a decade ago.

Where did the inspiration for the book come from? Jodi shared an experience when her daughter was preparing to go to college, and her brother was already gone. She suddenly realized that she was becoming an empty nester and was upset more than she anticipated, then she imagined what it would be like to be left behind. In the middle of all these thoughts, She read in the National Geographic Magazine that in a wild elephant kingdom, a mother and daughter elephant stay together with their whole lives until one of them dies. She realized that this was the perfect metaphor for the book when she read that fact.

Is leaving time based on a true story? Jodi shared that one of her personal experiences helped her write the story, including her family relationship and her trip to Botswana. How did the research take place? Jodi Picoult began her research at The elephant sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee. She got a chance to explore the sanctuary. She also went to Botswana and worked with an elephant researcher, got a chance to observe incredible behaviors of elephants in their natural habitat. The most phenomenal thing she learned about elephants is that they have the depth of understanding for loss previous to this to quality to an 


Who is the main character? Leaving Time Description of a teen’s search for her vanished mother, Alice Metcalf, an elephant researcher, studies grief and cognition in elephants. She studies them in Botswana and runs a sanctuary with her husband in New England. The novel is told from multiple points of view of 13-year-old Jenna Metcalf, her mother Alice, a dishonored psychic named Serenity, and Virgil’s detective. The story moves from past and present from one point of view to another, consistently flowing with mystery.

Book’s Summary | Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult 

Thirteen-year-old Jenna Metcalf grew up in a New England Elephants sanctuary with her parents. Jenna’s parents run an elephant sanctuary in New Hampshire. One night there’s a horrible tragedy at the sanctuary. An elephant tramples a Caregiver.

That same night Jenna’s mother, Alice Metcalf, went missing in the wake of this tragic accident when Jenna was only three years old. 

Jenna lives with her oddly distant maternal grandmother because her father has been institutionalized since the accident, where her mother Alice vanished.

Jenna begins the book ten years later believing that her mother would never have left her willingly and that she will find her mother. Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and examines her mother’s journals. Alice, an elephant researcher, put down her research on the grief among elephants. Jenna tries hard and hopes to find some clues from her journals.

In great need of finding the truth, she enlists the help of two unlikely allies, Virgil Stanhope, a police investigator, who since become a washed-up drunken private, reluctantly agrees to help Jenna and Serenity Jones, who was a very successful psychic with the famous client until made an epic mistake and finding the missing person grew in popularity.

The three of them are working together to discover what happened to Alice. 

The book’s lessons for you.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult  Cover image

The book is about people searching for something that has been lost to them, and each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the four main characters. Jodi creates characters that are both engaging and believable. They grab you and don’t let go, and she keeps the reader engaged by giving them twists and turns in the plot.

In Leaving time, you’ll discover that one of the fascinating things is how an elephant’s brain works. Many people love elephants but aren’t aware of their cognitive abilities. Elephants can remember things and are capable of feeling pain, grief, and loss.

Here are My Thoughts on the Book.

The book has all the elements Jodi’s devoted fans have expected and love: a wonderful story, an emotional plot twist, and great characters. 

There are many interesting facts about elephants in Leaving time, including their relationship with one another and even the elephants’ experience when losing one of their own.

Losing a young calf by its mother is similar to that of the loss of a human character, and you will see that this parallels that of those emotions of humans in the story. You will also explore the strong bond between the mother and child in the story. As I read through this book, I particularly enjoyed Jodi’s inside look at an elephant sanctuary, which was fascinating because I am especially passionate about learning about elephants. Like me, if you love the theme of love and loss, you will love this book.

What would I Rate this Book? 

The story I read was exceptional, and I happily rate “Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult” 4.5 stars out of 5.

Conclusion & Recommendations | Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

By the end, you learned so much about the elephant and grieving. You will learn why elephants behave the way they do and why people do the things they do. The amount of information you will learn about elephants in a fictional work will amaze you. 

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult would be my recommendation for those searching for a compelling story, beautiful writing, and even some humor. The most powerful and affecting novel with the impossible to forget story along with a twist you won’t see coming.

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