Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Leaving Time

Leavingtime

Reality and the spirit world collide together in a compelling story.

This is the first novel I have read by author, Jodi Picoult, but I’m very glad that I did. Leaving Time brought tears to my eyes more than once, and if it is possible to have some kind of emotional attachment to a story, this one did it for me.

The story is told in more than one narrative viewpoint. A decade after a fatal incident at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee occurs, three characters set out to solve the mystery of missing person, Alice Metcalf.

We have Jenna, Alice’s thirteen year old daughter, Virgil, a down-and-out Detective, and Serenity, a fallen from grace TV Psychic. Quite an oddly eclectic bunch to string together, but somehow Picoult effortlessly weaves together the fabric of their lives, hopes and fears in an astonishingly authentic way.

Through reading her mother’s journals, Jenna attempts to find out how she disappeared and why she had abandoned her. At least two thirds of this book will teach you about the behaviour of elephants through Alice’s viewpoint.. I particularly loved the portrayal of how elephants interact as a herd, and how they grieve for their young. I found that I lost myself in most of this text. Whilst I realise that some reviewers disliked this part of the book, for me it was an eye-opening revelation and almost a dedication to their memory, inducing pity and highlighting the sad plight of their cruel mistreatment by humans.

From the Author’s Note, we can see that she undertook a huge amount of research in exploring these animals, hence I felt that the chapters did not detract from the story, but enhanced it in a way that skimming over the surface would have been the difference between a profound and deeply rooted story to one that merely lies flat on a bed of freshly mown grass.

As the trio finally come to the end of their search and the threads of the story are wrapped up, a major plot twist  is revealed which I did not see coming, and though you might have to suspend disbelief in order to fully appreciate it, Picoult’s writing is so competent; it works!

One of the best reads I have picked up in a while.

5/5 stars
Available on Amazon

Review: My Dream of You by Nuala OFaolain

mydreamofyouMy Dream of You is one of those powerful stories that stays with you long after reading.

The story is narrated by Kathleen, a travel writer from Ireland, who at the death of a close colleague and friend begins to evaluate her life at the age of fifty. Struggling with loneliness and a deep lack of fulfilment she embarks on a journey back to the Ireland she left at the age of seventeen in order to confront her roots and deal with the demons of her past.

Much of the book is devoted to Kathleen’s memories of her sketchy and sad childhood which is slightly reminiscent of Frank McCourt’s, Angela’s Ashes. No mistaking here that the authentic dialect and descriptions add a beautiful visual depth to this story in a similar fashion. There are also reflections throughout the book on the potato famine, and many times the heartfelt emotions which were conveyed simply swept you up and away in a sometimes uncomfortable but pleasant way, in that you felt you were not just reading a sentence but indulging in some beautifully articulated irish literature.

The heart of the story is Kathleen’s inner struggle to feel loved and whether or not she will ever again find a passionate lover, an experience which she had only briefly tasted once in her younger years. When married ‘Shay ‘ appears in her life he becomes a fulfilling lover, if only for a fleeting time. Soon Kathleen is faced with the difficult choice of facing life as a middle-aged woman indulging in only sporadic unions with her lover, or the alternative option of never encountering a soul-bonding sexual experience ever again.

The ending ties together all her thoughts, self-discoveries, and final choices as she embarks on a new life without the people she has loved, and let go, both in the past and the present.

Overall the book was riveting and I found myself lost in its prose. For those who appreciate self-exploratory books with a deeper connection I truly recommend it as a pleasurable read.

My Dream of Youis available on Amazon.

The Book That Hooks

What makes a great hook?

What defines a hook in storytelling?

A great hook isn’t just limited to crime or thriller novels, it is also carefully woven between stories of  love, passion and human experience. Sometimes a book pulls us in just by its subject matter. Continue reading “The Book That Hooks”