The Elephant in the Library

For the first time in a long while, I read a book my mother recommended. It’s not that she has poor taste in novels; when I was a teenager, she and I would often read the same books right after each other and have long talks about them afterwards and during. She reads twice as fast as I do, so we had to make a deal that we would take turns reading new books in a series. I remember doing this for both Left Behind and Harry Potter.

I’ve said a couple of times here that my mom is a librarian now. She has an entire network of material to enjoy with hardly any limitation. I haven’t told her about my marathon reading goals. She’d probably think it was sweet how I find 84 books in a year a challenge. She is so much more prolific and reads a much more diverse selection; whereas, I have been on a science fiction streak for 15 books.

This morning, at three a.m., I finished number 16: a mystery. At least, that’s what the little library sticker says on the spine. I would consider it a sub-genre: paranormal mystery perhaps. Yet, it’s more than that. It’s comedy and tragedy. It builds up dread for the murder reveal, and then reveals everything about life, death, and afterlife. There are also elephants.

For anyone who hasn’t read Leaving Time, I highly recommend it. Although I haven’t been a fan of Jodi Picoult since Nineteen Minutes, I may need to start considering some of her more recent work.

I understand why my mom wanted me to read this book. It’s about the relationships between mother and child. It’s about grief and longing. And some of the most painful and amazing parts are shown through the emotions and interactions of elephants. That’s a fairly clever way to tell a story, and I found myself either laughing out loud or in tears through much of it.