What I’m Reading: Leaving Time

It’s been a long time since I read a Jodi Picoult book.  She used to be my favorite author.  I loved her books The Pact: A Love Story, Plain Truth, and My Sister’s Keeper: A Novel.  But somewhere in there I just feel like she lost her ability to be an amazing writer by adding in all sorts of “ghost and spirit” elements into her books.  I’m just not a ghost, spirit or supernatural gal so her books with those elements are just not something I want to read.  Honestly, the books listed are some of my favorite ever books…I’d likely put at least the first two on my top favorite 50 books ever list.

My oldest two girls were also huge fans of hers but more or less quit reading once the “ghosts and spirits” were added to the stories.  Well I broke down and selected one of her books to give it a try. I picked Leaving Time: A Novel.  Had it not been available for free from the on line library I would never have selected it as the “ghost and spirit” thing is just not me and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend money on a book that I didn’t feel comfortable just tossing aside.

Here’s the news…I didn’t just toss it aside.  Did I love it?  Yes and No.  I still love her writing.  I still love how she can bounce from character to character and slowly peel off layers of the story.  I love how she can go from past to present…I still don’t love the super natural elements though.  Thankfully this book doesn’t include them until the end.

Here’s what Amazon had to say, “For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe she was abandoned, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts.
Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest: Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons, only to later doubt her gifts, and Virgil Stanhope, the jaded private detective who’d originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they’ll have to face even harder answers.
As Jenna’s memories dovetail with the events in her mother’s journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent page-turner, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.”

I have to say I loved-totally loved-learning about elephants.  The information that was woven throughout the story was wonderful.  In fact, even with the super natural stuff, I didn’t hate the book.  I’m just not a gal that believes in any of that so the story looses appeal.

Amazon readers say 4.3 stars out of five…I’m more on the 3.2 level.  That’s actually very high for me considering that my eyes typically never touch the supernatural.  I liked the story and the elephant info lots and lots right up until the “ghost” part of the story raised it’s ugly head.

Anyone else a former  Jodi Picoult fan??

7 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: Leaving Time”

  1. So glad you posted about this.
    I loved all the early books by Jodi Picoult.
    I was thinking that maybe my taste in books have changed when I just wasn’t interested in her books anymore, but now I realize that the writing style has changed also.
    Ill have to give this one a try as I know it is in my little local library.

  2. I’ve tried to read her books several times. I just can’t get into them. I could barely tolerate a movie I saw made from one of her books. She’s not somebody I would ever read again.

  3. I haven’t read the book, but I feel you provided an excellent review. Basic plot and story line sounds interesting. And I like that you expressed that the author has a good story but ruins it by deviating from their proven track record that draws followers in. I think some authors that reach for new territories (e.g. in this case supernatural), obviously risk losing their followers and also can’t quite cut it in the new territory to draw in readers who might like such plots. Either way, it doesn’t sound like this book, nor this author’s new book trend is something I’d be interested in. Again, I respect your thorough and honest review. For the right person, your review might draw in some potential readers.


  4. Peggy Hendrick

    I agree with Kim w…I think her writing style has changed. I have not been able to read any of her latest books either…I think she has been trying too hard to churn out book after book instead of focusing on her earlier talent for story telling…Some of her earlier books like “Change of Heart” were excellent..

  5. Judy D in upstate NY

    Agree with you completely Jo. I think she may have a new book coming out soon and I wonder if she will go back to the “old” format. I keep hoping!

  6. I agree with you Jo. I’m one that can enjoy a “ghost and spirit” story so for me it’s that her story telling is so formula driven. Even if the story line sounds good, I know when I read it it will follow the same path to revealing the story. Each character, ever so slowing getting to the point of the story. House Rules was the one the just did me in on Judy Picoult….they story just didn’t hang together for me.

  7. I just read this book and I didn’t like the book. Previously, I had enjoyed her books but agree with you about her style changing.

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