Book Review-Leaving Time

Stop what you are doing and get this book.

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I LOVED this book. I am a huge Jodi Picoult fan, and if you weren’t aware I am obsessed with elephants. So this was meant to be a good book for me.

Picoult told this story from four different points of view: Jenna, Serenity, Virgil, and Alice. Alice is Jenna’s mother. She went missing when Jenna was three, so Jenna has been searching for clues for the past 10 years to find her. Now thirteen, she enlists the help of Serenity, a psychic, and Virgil, a PI. When you are reading Alice’s perspective you actually go back in time before the disappearance to give you some context.

I thought the way she laid out the book was brilliant. I was never confused on who was talking since each chapter was a different character. I also felt having the four different perspectives showed you different sides of the same story which brought depth to the plot line.

I am not going to tell you more to the story because I don’t want to give anything away. I want you to experience all the emotions I did with every twist and surprise.

This is honestly one of the best books I have read in a long time. Seriously it is possibly now in my top five all time favorite books is how much I loved it.

Not only is it a story about human emotions and how intertwined and messy but beautiful they can be, it also talks A LOT about elephants. I would call myself a novice expert (if that is a thing) on elephants. Every research paper in elementary school up to high school I did on elephants. I had all kinds of elephant encyclopedias/magazines growing up, and give me all the elephant figurines at the dollar store please. One of my dreams growing up was to work with elephants at a zoo or sanctuary. How I found this book was because I was setting up my yearly donation to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. (Click here if you want more information on that or to read about the lady elephants there.) Anyway, so I know when a writer is speaking the truth on elephants.

She wrote so beautifully on the emotional capacity of these wonderful animals, and the way it fit into the story was just great. I thought the flashbacks from Alice were a nice touch, and I honestly didn’t see the story unfolding as it did. And I am usually pretty good at predicting things. Total surprise with each chapter.

So I am sure that was the vaguest book review ever, but honestly you need to read this without me giving away any spoilers.
As a caveat though, from the reviews on Goodreads, it seems that this book is either hit or miss with people. Either you love it like I do, or people thought it was too much to keep up with and didn’t carry well between characters. I will let you decide. I think though if you are a fan of Jodi or of elephants, you will like the book.

Have you read Leaving Time? What is your favorite Jodi Picoult book?

Friday Filter: Book “The Tenth Circle”

I recently finished Jodi Picoult’s book The Tenth Circle. Here is the “back cover” synopsis from Amazon.

Fourteen-year-old Trixie Stone is in love for the first time. She’s also the light of her father, Daniel’s life — a straight-A student; a pretty, popular freshman in high school; a girl who’s always seen her father as a hero. That is, until her world is turned upside down with a single act of violence. Suddenly everything Trixie has believed about her family — and herself — seems to be a lie. Could the boyfriend who once made Trixie wild with happiness have been the one to end her childhood forever? She says that he is, and that is all it takes to make Daniel, a seemingly mild-mannered comic book artist with a secret tumultuous past he has hidden even from his family, venture to hell and back to protect his daughter. 

This is probably the first book of Picoult’s that I was not particularly fond of personally.

Rewind. It is a good book. As usual, Picoult is a phenomenal writer, who can depict raw emotions as if they are actually happening to you. I particularly did like that it showed parts of the story from the dad’s point of view, which I feel in our society is often missed. Being raised primarily by my own dad, I enjoyed seeing that love and connection in this story.

The story went through a series of events and how a split moment can change a person’s life forever. Picoult showed three different perspectives: the daughter, mother, and father. They were all impacted by this single act, and all chose to react in various ways to protect themselves and what they had left of their family.

This book had it all:  romance, violence, sex, teenage angst, range of emotions, drugs and alcohol, murder, suicide, Alaskan wilderness…covered.

She also put a twist in there by having a comic book in between chapters. Daniel, the father, is a comic book artist in the story, and these drawings were supposedly his. So this added a different layer and lens on the story, since most of the comics paralleled what was happening to their family. And apparently there is a hidden code in those pages. I wasn’t able to figure it out, but maybe another day.

But I just wasn’t feeling this book. Unlike her other books, I wasn’t connected to it. Actually, I think it was the opposite, I was too connected to it. The story lines were abrasive and harsh. They were all a little too real for me. I see these stories play out at work, and the pain and anguish I read just didn’t sit right with me. It stirred up emotions that I really couldn’t do anything with so that was frustrating. It brought up experiences that I had no control over so it was like feeling helpless all over again.

So I wasn’t the biggest fan of this particular story. Sometimes you just don’t like it even if it is good for others.

Picoult is still one of my favorite authors for her realness and the way she brings stories to life. I will no doubt continue to read her work, but this is one that I probably won’t read again for personal reasons.

Friday Filters offer a review that are my own opinions. I was not contacted by anyone associated with this work or compensated for my review. My review has not been influenced by anything other than my love for entertainment and art.