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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Larger Than Life

Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: 8/4/14
Format: e-book
My Rating: 5 Stars
From Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller and My Sister’s Keeper, comes a gripping and beautifully written novella, now available exclusively as an eBook. Set in the wilds of Africa, Larger Than Life introduces Alice, the unforgettable character at the center of Picoult’s anticipated new novel, Leaving Time.
A researcher studying memory in elephants, Alice is fascinated by the bonds between mother and calf—the mother’s powerful protective instincts and her newborn’s unwavering loyalty. Living on a game reserve in Botswana, Alice is able to view the animals in their natural habitat—while following an important rule: She must only observe and never interfere. Then she finds an orphaned young elephant in the bush and cannot bear to leave the helpless baby behind. Thinking back on her own childhood, and on her shifting relationship with her mother, Alice risks her career to care for the calf. Yet what she comes to understand is the depth of a parent’s love.

My Review

For all you Jodi Picoult fans, you cannot miss LARGER THAN LIFE, a new e-book short story novella, setting the stage for her heartwarming and upcoming LEAVING TIME, Oct 14, 2014.
Set in Botswana, in 1999, Alice is a naturalist, and researcher, focused on studying elephants. In LARGER THAN LIFE, we learn details about Alice, and her love and passion for elephants since she was ten years old, as she describes the life of an elephant in comparison to a human; which are no so different, after she completed a watercolor painting of an African elephant. She remained intrigued with elephants and learned both affect and are affected by their environment and live in female herds—the matriarch, the oldest in the family makes all the decision.
Now she finds herself in the middle of a massacre of five elephants, and recalls a few months ago when she worked in South African at Madikwe Game Reserve. She knows the job of scientist is to study wildlife, but not to interfere with it. (Hence, why they are called naturalists). She knows there have been many times in the past year when she has wondered if that might be an excuse for not having to be held responsible when something goes wrong. She knows elephants grieve and they will return for years to the site where a family member has died and will mourn. So now, this calf (baby elephant)is missing her mother and follows her home. She is all it has.
Alice will risk her career to care for the calf. Yet what she comes to understand is the depth of a parent's love.
As readers will learn in upcoming LEAVING TIME, Jenna will be searching for her mom Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident, when she was a child. Jenna only has her mom’s Alice’s journals, as she studied grief among elephants and the animals she loved, as she frantically continues to look for clues of her mother while seeking the help of Serenity Jones, a psychic and Virgil Stanhope, a jaded private detective who originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues.
Would also recommend WHERE THERE’S SMOKE: Another (free) e-short story as a prequel to LEAVING TIME, about Serenity Jones and her unusual psychic gifts.
What is not to like about Jodi Picoult? Everything she writes is powerful, riveting, and brilliant. You will not want to miss this series, and as always, no one can tell it better than Picoult!
Where There's Smoke
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Leaving Time
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