Leaving time by Jodi Picoult was last month’s book club title though it has been around for a while. I was first inspired to read it after listening to an interview on Radio 2’s book club. Even my hubby tuned in to hear her talk about the elephants’ reaction and behaviour to death and grief. We were in awe of elephants’ intellect and emotional intelligence.The conversation encouraged you to want to discover more about these obviously underestimated mammals. I was intrigued about how the story would unfold with the relationship between the 3 main protagonists as they join forces to reveal the truth of the events on the night a carer died in an Elephant sanctuary. Jenna is a 13 year old on a mission to find the truth behind her Mum’s disappearance as a way to deal with her loss, Virgil is an alcoholic ex-cop dealing with his loss of career and Serenity is a quirky, once famous psychic finding her way in the world without her psychic abilities. Their stories are cleverly entwined in the experiences of wild and captive elephants and story of Jenna’s mum, Alice.
It is well researched with twists and turns characteristic of her books. The characters are complicated and deep with back stories that influence their actions. These lead to consequences for others. The topics she chooses often have ethical or moral dilemmas as their base which causes the reader to consider their beliefs and feelings. This tale focused on grief and loss so a box of tissue is definitely needed. It challenges your beliefs on psychics and you can not help but be touched by the experiences of the elephants. You walk away from the book with great respect for these majestic creatures, wanting to raise awareness of their plight.
It was a perfect book for book club as it can trigger discussions on loss, grief, elephant protection, poaching, mental health and it’s wider effects as well as the world of psychics.