Author: Jodi Picoult
Provided Synopsis: 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.
Review: When Jenna was three years old, an accident occurred on the elephant sanctuary where she lived. In the aftermath of the event her mother went missing, and has still not turned up ten years later. Determined to discover the whereabouts of her mother — while conscious of the fact the woman might now be dead, or possibly even worse: that her mother never loved her at all and left her behind — Jenna enlists the help of a psychic and the detective who had been on the case ten years ago. Throughout this mission of the present is the unraveling of the past. And for the end result alone, which is one of the biggest plot twists I have read this year, I would recommend this book.
Beyond my appreciation for Jodi Picoult’s ending there also lies the elephants. Jenna’s mother and father both worked with elephants, with the former’s journals now in the possession of their daughter so she was able to grow up reading them. As a researcher, Jenna’s mother had been looking into elephants’ capacity to experience grief and the observations she notes are placed throughout the story. At times some of these observations elongate the book beyond what was probably necessary, yet I truly loved being able to read about these elephants in the wild or within the sanctuary. The emotions they are able to experience (and project!) are amazing and they do come to mean something within the terms of the book’s themes along with what is being expressed in the action up until that point.
To sum it up: Jodi Picoult continues to be Jodi Picoult. She does not disappoint.