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Publisher's Summary

Throughout her blockbuster career, number-one New York Times best-selling author Jodi Picoult has seamlessly blended nuanced characters, riveting plots, and rich prose, brilliantly creating stories that "not only provoke the mind but touch the flawed souls in all of us" (The Boston Globe). Now, in her highly anticipated new book, she has delivered her most affecting novel yet - and one unlike anything she's written before.

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 that she would be abandoned as a young child, 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. The first is Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons - only to later doubt her gifts. The second is Virgil Stanhope, a jaded private detective who 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 pause-resister, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.

©2014 Jodi Picoult (P)2014 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Leaving Time

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Pickiest Reader Would Be Willing to Give 6 Stars

Ms. Picoult has always been an average author for me. One that took advantage of current moral issues in society and exacerbated them into novels. This novel is so strong, so raw, and so captivating.. it is almost literature. I have never experienced an author that went from sophomoric to exceptional in one novel. The metaphoric parallels between humans and elephants are mesmerizing...but the book is not about elephants. The parallel between life and death allows us to suspend reality easily and without thinking,.. but the book really isn't about life and death. No matter what your reading preferences are...love story, mystery, suspense, or nature.. you are going to be glad you opened up this book and listened. Narration is stellar. I have nothing negative to say about this novel. Picoult has arrived.

466 people found this helpful

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A breakthrough. Surprising, moving, and amazing.

I have read many of Jodi Picoult's novels, and until Leaving Time, my hands down favorite had been The Storyteller. I came to Picoult backward- starting with The Story Teller, and then moving back in time to her previous works. It wasn't hard to see her formula, her pattern, and actually, her evolution as a writer. It was clear to see that with The Storyteller, Picoult had taken huge leaps, taken big chances. With Leaving Time, Picoult has taken even bigger leaps, and done them with grace and care. Leaving Time is an amazing, and deep hearted book. The fact that I wept means more to me than it will to anyone else, but they were not tears of sadness. Sometimes when the heart breaks, there are only tears of love.

145 people found this helpful

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Her Best Yet--and that is really saying something!

Would you listen to Leaving Time again? Why?

Absolutely! I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult books, but this one is by far the best!!!

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes! They always do! Since I read lots of her books, I expect the unexpected, but I never figure them out!

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

Alice!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Hold on---it's quite a ride--an elephant ride!

Any additional comments?

OH MY GOODNESS!!! This is my new favorite JP book and it's very high on my list of greatest books of all time!!! I couldn't put it down! Any JP reader knows to expect three things of her books:

1. Her meticulous research equals a book that entertains and educates the reader in that sneaky way that leaves the reader more knowledgeable from the sheer joy of partaking in the story!

2. Twists, turns, and more twists! The reader is never going where he or she thinks they are!

3. Even if you are expecting the unexpected, you will still never know what is coming at the end!

Mrs. Jodi Picoult has a talent for transforming simple words on paper and turning them into absolutely beautiful ART!

87 people found this helpful

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First time Jodi reader--this book was excellent

Where does Leaving Time rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best books I have heard on Audible. The narrators were excellent, the story line was tight even though it bounced around in terms of the point of view. Really happy I went out on a limb and ordered it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Leaving Time?

The most memorable moment is the plot twist. Didn't see it coming, but when it happened, Jodi Picoult had left little clues that all wrapped up perfectly. Won't give it away here tho...don't want to ruin it for everyone.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

The distinctive voices, and the great emotion in the performance.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not an extreme reaction...just really surprised and happy with the book itself. I love that Jodi wove her passion to help and protect elephants into the book, and while the story doesn't go too far into detail about elephants, you do pick up a lot of facts about these wonderful animals.

Any additional comments?

Loved that this was like a thriller/romance/fantasy/sci-fi/planet animal channel all mixed into one.

80 people found this helpful

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Book About Elephants

What would have made Leaving Time better?

I want to make sure people know that this book is primarily about elephants and the study of how they grieve, as a parallel to how humans grieve. I wish that someone had warned me of this before I bought this book. The book would have been better if it actually explored the story itself more than 20% of the time.

What was most disappointing about Jodi Picoult’s story?

Make no mistake, this is a book about Elephants with a small amount of human interest/ghost story interspersed. It was literally hours upon hours of endless, mind numbing, eye glazing, repetitive droning on and on and on about Elephants. I would say 80% was about Elephants and about 20% was actual fiction story. The major twist in the storyline part of this book was really jarring and it occurred about 90% of the way through the book so that the last 10% was a rapid thrown together conclusion. The twist in the story should've occurred much sooner so that it could've developed more fully into something that actually made sense, and also so that the reader would have time to process it and understand what was going on. It felt clear to me that the author chose this plot device to stun and confuse the reader to the point that it would make one feel the need to re-read the book to see what clues were missed from the beginning. This ploy did not work on me however, and instead it left me feeling annoyed and I most certainly would not read this book again. I literally had to force myself to just get through it this time.

How could the performance have been better?

The performance of Alice's character was absolutely DREADFUL. I cannot say enough about how terrible it was. It was this droning, slow, drawn out monotone and almost robotic voice. It is actually crazy how bad it was. Another reviewer's idea to speed up the reading during her parts was a great one and I only wish I had thought of that sooner. :-( I found her to be insufferable and to make it worse, all her endless droning was about elephants. When she would pause in speaking, I would hope that her section was over and that it would be another character's turn. And then I felt actual agony when I realized that her chapter still had a long way to go. This actually happened to me over and over again with this book. I wish they would show in the credits which narrator read which parts so that I could avoid this narrator at all costs in the future. Jenna's voice was also quite annoying because it was this very strange, over-exaggerated extreme valley girl accent. Really odd. I liked the performances of Serenity and Virgil. They were definitely the best part of this book. More of them would've made the book a lot better.

What character would you cut from Leaving Time?

I would cut out Alice but then there would be no book I suppose since the story revolved around her and her never-ending droning on and on about elephants.

Any additional comments?

The only reason that I stuck with this book was because Serenity & Virgil were interesting characters and I didn't think that the Elephant stuff could possibly continue through the whole book. I thought for sure it was just a backstory for reference and that the real story would take over at some point. But I was wrong because Alice talking about Elephants turned out to be incessant and it was the main theme of the book. And Serenity & Virgil turned out to be very small parts of the book. One last note - I was actually highly offended by one part of this book. The author wrote a part where Serenity talks about having met George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara and she had a photo of the three of them. Serenity tells Virgil that what he can't see in the picture is that President Bush's hand is actually on her butt. I found this to be unbelievable that the author would make such a rude reference to a former President who has never been known as anything but a great family man and I'm quite sure that he would never have done such a thing. It was quite bizarre.

61 people found this helpful

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Just dreadful

I found nothing to like in this.

Narrator: The main narrator was so slow that she was still OK at 2x speed. I'm from Mississippi - I know slow - but the unnatural gravitas was excruciating.

Story: One mystery, tortured to death in cliches and poor dialog. These characters spoke in voices that no one uses and were minimally developed. The ending. Wow. I won't spoil it but I think it was spoiled for us all with an incredible plot device that left me feeling even worse about the time I spent listening to this book.

Theme: Elephant grief is described with horrible stories of death and suffering. While I do applaud the attempt to raise awareness of the cruelty they often endure, I just hope a good portion of the profits go to them so I didn't suffer through this book in vain.

I forced myself to listen to the end by speeding it up, but quite relieved that it's over.

58 people found this helpful

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Not at all the story I expected! Wonderful!

It is hard to write much about this book without giving away elements of the story that need to unfold in the context of the telling of the tale. On one level, it is a good "Who dunnit?" mystery. On another, it is a moving account of the lives of elephants in the wild and in captivity. The most unique and moving aspects of the story have little to do with either of these story elements. The title of the book gives you a clue, but don't think you've figured it out, because you haven't....

51 people found this helpful

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Up There With My All-time Favorites!

This book did not disappoint on any level. I couldn't wait to get back to it and finished it in a few days. I think it will remain hovering in my mind for a long while.

Buckle you seat belt, put on your headphones, grab a few tissues, and prepare for a ride you will likely not forget. 13 year old Jenna cannot imagine how her mother, Alice Metcalf, could have abandoned her as a very young child. A long-term employee at the elephant sanctuary was trampled by elephants and her mother, Alice, was injured. Subsequently, Alice disappeared from the hospital mysteriously leaving Jenna to grow up in the care of her grandmother.

In an attempt to obtain some closure, to find out if her mother was actually alive, and to learn why she was left behind with an unstable father, Jenna enlists the help of two very unlikely advocates. She secures help from a disgraced psychic and an alcoholic ex-cop and begins her journey to clarify exactly what her mother's motives were when she abandoned her 3 year old daughter. In addition to Jenna's current day search, this book is to a large extent derived from Alice Metcalf's journals of her days at the New Hampshire elephant sanctuary that she ran with her husband, Thomas, and several close associates.

Throughout the book, we are educated on the plight of elephants. Picoult's elephant stories and educational information are true, many of the anecdotes coming from events at an actual elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. The stories of the elephants and the plight of Jenna and her friends tears at your heart. The ending was totally unexpected and demands that you let loose your preconceived notions and stretch your imagination a bit.

I was emotionally drained at the end of this book but somehow, it was a satisfying and appropriate ending. A tad bittersweet, you can imagine, as you cannot read about elephants and not feel heartbroken for them. For Jenna, however, there was a satisfactory resolution.

So, prepare yourself to be surprised and impressed. I loved this latest Picoult story--the author really outdid herself this time. Highly recommended!

40 people found this helpful

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Listen to this now!

Where does Leaving Time rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Excellent book with twists and turns that are not predictable. Excellent read. I could not put it down.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I didn't listen to the whole thing in one sitting. I listened to it driving from ATL to NV and back, running, on the elliptical trainer, before I sleep. I finished it in about a week.

40 people found this helpful

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Jaw dropping

This was unlike any other book I have listened to. The story was captivating. The narration was incredible. The characters and insight into our sadly disappearing elephant society were incredible. But the ending just was mind Blowing! Anything is possible if you open your mind.

38 people found this helpful

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