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[Book] Leaving Time - Jodi Picoult: It's all about elephants 본문

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[Book] Leaving Time - Jodi Picoult: It's all about elephants

꾸로 (gguro) 2016.06.30 17:16







[Book]  Leaving Time - Jodi Picoult: It's all about elephants


Reading period: 26 May - 27 June, 2016


I started to read this book thanks to the recommendation from a local library. In one sentence, I enjoyed it. 


The copy that I began reading it.


The copy that I ended reading it.


As I often say, I was so slow in reading the story that I ended up to reading it with a different copy from that I started with. How? Well, I borrowed the first one from a local library, and then once the due came I returned it and borrowed the other. 


Even I borrowed an audiobook to listen to while I was driving. Here is the first one.

The first file of the audiobook


The audiobook consists of 65 mp3 files, and runs for about 15 hours. Sometimes I read the book first and listen to the same part, other times I do vice versa. 


Actually, I skipped a lot just because my reading speed is so slow, not because the story isn't enjoyable. And finally, I learned how it ends by hearing from someone in a local book club. 



1. First-person narratives

The author uses first-person narratives narrated by different characters. Each chapter starts with the narrator's name as its title. It means that "I" in the chapter is the narrator. For example, Jenna is the narrator of the whole chapter in the image below.


Jenna is the narrator of this chapter


This trick works nice to show the same events from different aspects. Here is the list of narrators:

- Alice: An elephant scientist

- Jenna: Alice's daughter

- Serenity: A psychic

- Virgil: A private investigator who used be a detective


They all describe the same thing in their own ways which twist the story nicely.



2. Elephants

(Spoiler alert from here)

I think this whole story is more about elephants than humans. It starts with a little girl who so loved elephants as to write a letter to the mayor for a miserable elephant she had seen in a zoo. And she became an elephant scientist, Alice.


Then, she's missing. Yes, she's missing. So her 13-year-old daughter, Jenna, started to find her. Her everyday starts with checking a website of missing people. Finally, she went to ask a psychic for help, Serenity.


Serenity is a psychic who used to be very successful enough to appear to TV shows with other celebrities. Once she made one mistake about an important politician's child, she lost everything. Even she didn't believe herself any more. Then one day, Jenna came to her.


Virgil is connected to the incident as a detective when one lady died in an elephant sanctuary. Alice and her husband founded the sanctuary and obviously, they were responsible for all the things happened there. Virgil was a fresh started detective who could never forgot this suicide (or homicide), so that he had to quit the job and become a private investigator. Later he helped Jenna to find missing Alice.



3. Plot twist

The plot is nicely twisted. Serenity could talk to dead people, i.e., ghosts. Jenna asked her to talk to Alice because probably she's dead. But Serenity could not, maybe because she's a lousy psychic or Alice was not dead. Which was the case? Alice was missing for 10 years. But she's not dead. She was somewhere in Africa escaping from all the suspicion by the police in US. 


In fact, Jenna was a ghost. What? Oh, yes. She was a ghost. What funny is that Serenity thought she was not a good psychic any more, so she thought Jenna was real. Jenna was dead on the day when the lady in the sanctuary died trampled by an elephant (or murdered by someone). She was 3 when she died, and she was buried by an elephant, Maura. 


Even Virgil was a ghost. Serenity was talking herself in public while she thought she was talking to two real people, Jenna and Virgil. She only realized it at the end. I skipped the part how Virgil died, but probably it's not that important. Haha.


4. Quotes

- Protecting whom?

   Editorials every day chastised the planning board, which had allowed Thomas Metcalf to build his sanctuary, albeit with two concentric fences to keep the citizens safe from the animals.

   Or vice versa.

- page 73-74


- Dr. Seuss

  He hands me the book he's holding. "For God's sake, be careful. There are spies all over the place." 

  The book is by Dr. Seuss. Green Eggs and Ham.

  "This is your article?" I ask.

  "It's encoded," Thomas whispers.

- page 389

The encoded research article by Thomas. 


5. Conclusion

If you like elephants, go for it. If you like scientific description of something, this book is for you. If you seek for romantic human drama, maybe this is not the best book. 


It devotes a lot to describe the behaviors of elephants: How they grieve, how they love their children, how they make friends and so on. I even felt this book is half non-fiction.


It also shows a little about what's the life of animal scientist. Alice and her husband Thomas were both scientist and they talked about their researches. Even Alice was a postdoctoral researcher when she was in Africa. It was funny to see a word "postdoc" in a fiction as a postdoc myself.


I myself enjoyed this book even though I had to skipped some parts for busy days. I would like to read her other books some day.


30 June 2016

gguro




- Some tweets that I posted while reading




- Other posts you might be interested

[책] I let you go - Clare Mackintosh (너를 놓아줄게): 어딘가 꼭 있을 것만 같은 슬픈 여자의 이야기







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