I saw this book during a sale at a bookshop. If you’ve read Picoult, you’ll understand the emotional torture her books cause. They’re riveting works of fiction who will not rest until they’ve extracted bucket loads of your tears. With considerable trepidation about the ugly crying this book would cause, I bought it.
For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on her vanished mom Alice. Jenna searches online, rereads journals of the scientist who studied grief among elephants. Two unlikely allies are Serenity Jones, psychic for missing people who doubts her gift, and Virgil Stanhope, jaded PI who originally investigated cases of Alice and her colleague. Hard questions and answers.
“Hard questions and answers”- you can say that about every Picoult book. Of course, this book had them too. The genre is slightly different from your usual Picoult books, but is just as poignant.
First chapter in, you get this:
The moral of this story is that sometimes, you can attempt to make all the difference in the world, and it still is like trying to stem the tide with a sieve. The moral of this story is that no matter how much we try, no matter how much we want it … some stories just don’t have a happy ending.
Damn you, Picoult, for all this “I will break your heart, reader” writing. 😦
Anyway. Over to the review.
The characters were neatly done. You can’t help but sympathize for Jenna. Her accomplices, Virgil and Serenity, will also appeal to the reader. They have their own problems which the reader gets an insight into in typical Picoult multi-POV fashion. (Mad credits for the portrayal of Serenity! I loved her!)
The setting of the book was detailed. The story slowly develops. The chapters alternate between Jenna, Virgil, Serenity, and Jenna’s mother Alice’s journal entries and dissertations. Her mother used to observe elephants in Africa before returning to the elephant sanctuary in the United States. There’s a lot about elephants and this was really interesting. The plight of elephants shown in this book is, sadly, the reality. Elephants are taken away from the wild and sold to zoos and circuses even now. Poaching is another problem. This book will wake up the animal lover in you.
With compelling twists and turns, a strong narrative, and a shocking finish, this book is almost perfect. Without giving away much, I should say that some people may not find the ending agreeable. I believed there was no other way it could have ended. How else do you deliver the trademark twist in the last few pages? 😀
Rating: 4 out of 5
As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments. 🙂