Jodi Picoult is one of those puzzling authors. Wait, that’s not quite accurate. She is the most puzzling author. Now, some writers people either love or hate. I get that. But my love/hate relationship with Jodi goes book by book; some of her novels I’ve loved – My Sister’s Keeper, Change of Heart, Keeping Faith – and some I’ve hated – Vanishing Act, Tenth Circle, Sing You Home. But in spite of that, I’ve read everything she’s ever written, including her newest novel, Leaving Time. It’s always an adventure, picking up a Picoult. Will I love this, or have to force myself to finish it? I always do finish, because she has been known to have quite a twist at the end of her books, and I admit that I am fond of twists. She also presents some great “What if” questions, and sometimes sprinkles supernatural or legal issues into her stories. So, I like all those things, and I continue to read her books.
In this book we meet Alice, a scientist studying elephants (more specifically, grief in elephants); her daughter Jenna, who cannot understand why her mother just disappeared when she was three, and now at 13 is eager to find her; Serenity Jones, a once famous psychic who reluctantly agrees to help Jenna; and last, Virgil, the detective on the Alice Metcalf missing person case who sort of fumbled the ball and ended up off the force and living life as a hard-drinking private eye.
This novel covers real scientific study on elephants, a mystery, some supernatural stuff, and some humor as well. Serenity visits the Genius Bar to get help with her laptop:
“When I try to print something,” I say, “nothing happens.”
“Does your screen turn black? Does anything come out of the printer? Do you get an error message? Did you document anything?”
I have a theory about Gen Y, these narcissistic twenty-somethings. They don’t want to wait their turn. They don’t want to work their way up the ladder. They want what they want now—in fact, they’re sure they deserve it. Young people like this, I believe, are soldiers who died in Vietnam, and have been reincarnated. The timing’s right, if you do the math.
“Hey, hey, LBJ,” I say under my breath. “How many kids have you killed today?”
She doesn’t glance up.
“Make love, not war,” I add.
The techie looks at me like I’ve lost my mind. “Do you have Tourette’s?”
“I’m a psychic. I know who you used to be.”
“Oh, Jesus Christ.”
“No, not him,” I correct.
I ended up liking this book. I liked the characters, and the mystery pulled me in. Oh, did I mention that there is, indeed, a twist at the end? You’ll have to decide for yourself if you like this one or not, but I think it would make a great book for a book club to discuss.