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Leaving Time #0.6

Larger Than Life

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Alice Metcalf is unlucky in love and was fired from her last job. She is on a tenuous footing in her current one, and has just received the worst news of her life. But when she comes across a family of elephants, killed for their ivory, she can't abandon the surviving calf. Trying to hide a hundred-pound baby elephant in her camp may be difficult, but Alice is ready to break all the rules to save the one life she can.

A haunting, beautifully told prequel to Jodi's upcoming novel Leaving Time.

Bonus content - includes the first chapter of Jodi Picoult's next bestseller Leaving Time. Leaving Time will be published in October 2014. Available for pre-order now!

77 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 4, 2014

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About the author

Jodi Picoult

110 books76.4k followers
Jodi Picoult is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-eight novels, including Wish You Were Here, Small Great Things, Leaving Time, and My Sister’s Keeper, and, with daughter Samantha van Leer, two young adult novels, Between the Lines and Off the Page. Picoult lives in New Hampshire.

MAD HONEY, her new novel co-authored with Jennifer Finney Boylan, is available in hardcover, ebook, and audio on October 4, 2022.

Website: http://www.jodipicoult.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jodipicoult

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jodipicoult

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5 stars
6,117 (34%)
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3 stars
3,932 (22%)
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235 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,078 reviews
Profile Image for Sharon.
1,049 reviews196 followers
October 25, 2014
Alice's love and interest in elephants started from when she was just ten years old. From the day she did a presentation on the life of an elephant at school she has never forgotten a single fact about elephants to this day.

Alice's mother is not very happy when she finds out that, Alice has turned down a position at Harvard where she could research monkeys. Instead Alice decides to travel to Africa and do what she has always dreamed of and that is to study elephants. Alice is in her element as she learns many things about the elephants such as the elephants memory and the strong bond between mother and calf. Alice knew the day she came across an orphaned calf that she could not just walk away and leave it even though this was what she was meant to do.

What an amazing and emotional short story and one in which I absolutely LOVED. This is a prequel to Jodi Picoult's next novel, Leaving Time. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Christy.
664 reviews
November 19, 2019
"Where There's Smoke" and "Larger Than Life" are both prequels to the novel "Leaving Time".

I loved "Larger Than Life"! This is a super short novella involving the story of Alice and is set in Africa. She is a scientist studying elephants and I found everything involving the discussion of elephants simply fascinating. I was obsessed with elephants as a child, and still really love to learn anything I can about them. Alice studies a lot involving elephant memory and the bonds between mother and baby. Her main rule as a researcher is to never interfere with the natural happenings of the wild. She finds an abandoned calf, and throws that rule quickly out the door. It's a risky career move, but she learns a lot about the love of a parent along the way. This really hit on many emotions for me, especially after the passing of my mom a couple of weeks ago.

Alice is apparently a central character in the novel "Leaving Time", so I'm very interested to know what it is going to do with "Where's There's Smoke". "Where There's Smoke" is about a famous psychic... so I think it will be super interesting to see how these two separate prequels come together in "Leaving Time".
Profile Image for Anke.
2,464 reviews86 followers
August 6, 2014
Free 8/4 - 8/9 on amazon :) Don't forget, Anke!!!!

A story, ok a novella about elephants and Africa, well that's a must for me. I have been to Africa, I have seen elephants roaming the Masai Mara and near Krüger and they are amazing. And to get this for free? Even better. I started reading at once, but somehow this didn't work for me. Half of the story was facts about the elephants. It was interesting, lots of it I already knew, only - I wanted to read a romance, if not that then at least an engaging story, but what I got was a dissertation. Alice, the way the story was written, I couldn't take to her (hope that's the right expression:) ). I felt for her regarding her mother and her love-less upbringing, but whenever I thought, now I get her, there again were all these elephant facts. And then the romance part of the story, that was rather out of the blue and didn't work as well. Might be I got it all wrong and this wasn't supposed to be at least in part a romance, but as fiction, sorry didn't work.
I'm still on the fence regarding the novel Leaving Time, I think I'll wait for more reviews.
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,228 reviews2,728 followers
August 18, 2014
Alice had wanted to study and work with elephants for as long as she could remember. With all the qualifications she had achieved at home in New England, her mother was horrified when she gave up the offer of Harvard to travel to Africa instead. Alice’s dreams had finally come true, with or without her mother’s blessings.

On the game reserve in Botswana where she was studying the elephants’ memories and the bond between mother and calf, Alice was fascinated by what she was learning. But the day she discovered a baby calf which had been orphaned, a calf that was only around three weeks old, she knew her life was about to change. She was about to break the cardinal rule about interfering with nature…

I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful, heartwarming novella which is a prequel to Jodi Picoult’s newest novel Leaving Time. She has obviously done a lot of research and I’m really looking forward to reading it. I have no hesitation in recommending Larger Than Life, especially if you have an ereader.
Profile Image for Mike.
61 reviews46 followers
November 3, 2022
My first Jodi Picoult read. Sure, I picked a novella, but it makes me look forward to reading more of her work.

If you love animals and people who are passionate about them, along with good writing - then this excellent short story is right up your alley.

It's really that simple with this one.

Sending my best to everyone out there! Nothing but love.
Profile Image for Kelly Kosinski.
262 reviews36 followers
August 12, 2023
Update: I did finally read this. It was wonderful and taught me many things.

I never dnf but this I did. Too sad. I love elephants, think they are amazing!! First few pages in, poachers killed elephants, very graphic too. Their was an elephant calf and he wouldn’t leave his mother. This is based on reality, babies are placed in zoos or wildlife reserves and because they don’t have their herd to teach them they become dangerous to humans. I can’t imagine elephants anything but gentle to humans. Makes me so sad.
Profile Image for Shomeret.
1,062 reviews208 followers
January 5, 2020
Larger Than Life was published five years ago. Some readers might say that the time for me to review it has passed. Admittedly, it's been some time since I've read Jodi Picoult. Yet when I started Larger Than Life I felt like I'd come back home. I was home even though I was in Botswana because Alice Metcalf is just the sort of protagonist that I love to read about. I was very moved by Alice's attachments to elephants that she had studied in African wildlife sanctuaries. Her dedication to the survival of elephants was inspirational.

I saw a review of Larger Than Life on Goodreads that complained about all the elephant facts. Alice is an elephant researcher. It would be strange to me if a story about a woman who does research didn't contain any facts about the subject she was researching.

Larger Than Life is a prequel to the Jodi Picoult novel, Leaving Time. I loved Larger Than Life. So I'm definitely going to want to read Leaving Time in the foreseeable future.

For my complete review see https://shomeretmasked.blogspot.com/2...
Profile Image for Rissa.
1,420 reviews47 followers
January 10, 2019
Elephants. Baby elephants 🐘
Her mother was poached and Alice wanted her to have a chance to live, to thrive. So she took this huge baby elephant and tried to raise it in her little cottage. Tried to feed and care for and eventually set out in the world to join her own kind.

This was beautiful and I loved it!
Profile Image for Marleen.
1,758 reviews94 followers
March 26, 2016
It’s been some years since I last read a book by Jodi Picoult. I like most of her stories, but not all.
I was pleasantly surprised by this well-written and well-documented short story that took me on a journey to Botswana and South Africa and introduced me to the world of elephants, which was truly fascinating. We follow the young neuro-scientist and doctor in animal behavior, Alice Metcalf, who was pushed by her mother to become a great academic. Instead of a great career stateside, Alice leaves for Africa to study elephants. She goes to great lengths to advocate for these amazing animals instead of simply making notes of her findings, dispassionately, as a scientist should. However, Alice can't help but being emotional when it comes to these wonderful creatures. Then there's also Alice's relationship with her mother, which wasn't an easygoing relationship.
Greater than Life’s an interesting and educational novella – and all in all, it’s hard to give so much content in a limited amount of pages. So credit goes to the writer.
I look forward to Leaving Time, the full novel about Alice Metcalf and her family.
Profile Image for Marianne.
3,500 reviews178 followers
August 4, 2014
Larger Than Life is a short story prequel to Leaving Time, the twenty-first full length novel by popular American author, Jodi Picoult. It introduces naturalist, Alice Metcalf, a key character in Leaving Time and details some of her history. In Botswana, Alice comes across an elephant calf that has survived the massacre of her herd by poachers. What she does next could jeopardise her whole career. Picoult has obviously done a lot of research into her subject: even this short taster gives the reader interesting facts about elephant herds, in particular the importance of the matriarch, and some of the effects of poaching. In true Picoult fashion, this story is informative and thought-provoking as well as being at times funny and very moving. The download also includes the first chapter of Leaving Time. Readers will eagerly devour this free offering in anticipation of the publication of Picoult’s upcoming novel.
Profile Image for Ron.
Author 1 book141 followers
August 13, 2014
Picoult delivers more story in fifty pages than many writers do in hundreds. Through thoughts and flashbacks the main character reveals more about herself than she knows. The central story is about a researcher trying to adopt an orphaned baby elephant.

Only once did Picoult insult the reader by telling us what we should have figured out on our own. (“We both knew she was not talking about the wine.”) But she made up for it with a line—or the opening of a line cribbed from Jane Austen. (“It is a fact universally acknowledge that it’s impossible to stay furious in close proximity to a newborn elephant.”)

Really good story telling.

Really good story.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,423 reviews215 followers
January 27, 2018
So I totally read this book out of order because I had no idea it was a prequel to another book. YEAH, I definitely live under a rock.

Larger Than Life was so freaking good. I just loved the elephants in Leaving Time so getting more of them made me even happier while reading this book. Even though I was happy while getting more time with the elephants - this was actually a sad book. Well, maybe just to me? I have no idea how anyone else felt.

The elephant's behaviors were so interesting that I couldn't put this book down. Then there's Alicia and I loved that she loved elephants. Now they aren't my favorite animal ever, because Hippos rule the world, but I definitely loved her interest in them. I also really liked that Alicia made her own decisions and didn't care what anyone else thought. Yeah it would have been nice to go to Harvard and everything. But to study monkeys? Nah, I wouldn't have accepted that either. Elephants > Monkeys all day every day.
Profile Image for ☮Karen.
1,533 reviews9 followers
August 23, 2014
4.5 stars. A truly heartbreaking, lovely little story that gave me quite an education on elephants. Set in Botswana, Alice is a scientist, a naturalist, studying the local elephant population, which is dwindling once again due to the slaughter for ivory that has reached epic proportions. She ends up taking a newborn, orphaned and starving in her grief for her mother, back to camp with her to nurse back to health. So much to love in these 50 some pages.
Profile Image for Ally McCudden.
215 reviews9 followers
May 11, 2020
Gosh I miss Jodi Picoults writing. Her stories are my favourite. I think I would have liked this more if I remembered more details about Leaving Time. That is totally on me, not the book.
Regardless I really enjoyed this and it makes me want all the elephants in the world to be happy and healthy.
1,038 reviews117 followers
October 11, 2017

A short story that depicts the remarkable herd behaviours of elephants and how they socialize with each other and their care givers.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,880 reviews81 followers
July 28, 2022
This is a beautiful story about a young woman who becomes a scientist that studies and love elephants. Heartbreaking and wondrous!
Profile Image for Jenny.
184 reviews
May 24, 2019
Another excellent novella by Jodi Picoult. Now I will have to read Leaving Time.
Profile Image for Sabrina Bain.
234 reviews38 followers
July 26, 2019
Cant wait to read leaving time, loved the short stories. Thsnks Jodi
Profile Image for Kathy.
616 reviews25 followers
October 24, 2014
Larger than Life’ is a short taster, a novella, a prequel to the much awaited new novel from Jodi Picolt, Leaving Time. Alice Metcalf is a naturalist and has saved an elephant calf that has survived a massacre. This is a really well researched ebook and I really enjoyed this teaser (took me about an hour and a half to read), and was happy I saved it until Leaving Time was released – so ready now to dive on in! Jodi Picoult is a must read author for me and I just know that I’m going to devour Larger Than Life.

Profile Image for Lisa.
236 reviews78 followers
August 26, 2014
I love Jodi Picoult. But this story truly stands out. Set in Africa with multiple references to South Africa, Setswana and nature conservation here, this book feels warm and familiar.

O, and Lesego rocks!
Profile Image for Carol.
52 reviews
January 6, 2016
I enjoyed the main story, but thought it ended somewhat abruptly. The ending was very unsatisfactory, and did not inspire me to read the next book.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
649 reviews57 followers
February 2, 2020
I was disappointed with this. The main character was not terribly engaging, and she seemed rather passive, although a few of the background characters came to life splendidly. The main plot of this story is that a researcher breaks some rules in order to save a baby elephant, and she finds herself over her head in struggling to care for the calf. She also tries to understand where she stands with her own mother, a subplot mostly revealed in flashbacks. It’s difficult for me to explain why this story fell short for me. I enjoyed all the information about elephants, and I liked that the relationship between elephant matriarchs and their offspring is mirrored, in this story, by the protagonist’s troubled relationship with her mother. It was an interesting way to tell the story, and Jodi Picoult pulled it off beautifully. I also liked the mother/daughter subplot, and I think the mother might be the best-developed character of all of them, even though she’s not much in the story at all. The mother was complicated and nuanced enough for me to be invested.

Perhaps the biggest flaw in the story is that the main character isn’t those things. She seems flat and lifeless. For the most part, the story was boring because she was boring. I cared more about the subplot than the main plot, which felt stagnant. A few things happened along the way that made me smile or frown, but most of what happens comes right at the end. I also had a hard time believing that the protagonist—a scientist, a doctor, and someone who genuinely cares about the animals she studies—would be so unable to think through a situation logically. I don’t blame her at all for her spur-of-the-moment decision to save the elephant calf, as I think most people would have done the same, or at least, would have wanted to. But she had that elephant in her care for a long period of time, and she was supported by a team of scientists. She ought to have been able to predict the obvious. She should have undersood the situation and made a plan, and instead, she was content just to make things up as she went along. She never even tried to prepare for anything. I know it isn’t always fair for a reader to judge the character for missing something that’s so evident. After all, it’s common enough in real life for someone too close to a situation to miss things that would be apparent to an impartial observer. But to ask me to suspend disbelief to such an extent that I could accept an entire team of scientists being completely surprised by something that had already been documented, repeatedly, for years? Jodi Picoult is trying so hard for an emotional twist (which the readers will see a mile off) that she sacrifices all the story’s credibility.

For all the animal lovers out there:
Profile Image for Aishling Murphy.
233 reviews13 followers
December 22, 2018
Another super read from Jodi Picoult . I read this short story as I to find Elephants very interesting. Shocking to see them pouched for the ivory tusks. This story is about Alice who working in south Africa on an reserve comes across a number of dead Elephants killed by poachers.. only a small baby elephant remains standing beside his death mother.. what can Alice do if she takes the small elephant with her she runs the risk of loosing her job if she lives the elephant behind she knows it may die.. this book is beautifully written and enjoyable.
Profile Image for Kim Martin.
171 reviews40 followers
April 4, 2020
This novella was included in the back of my copy of Leaving Time, as well as a reader’s guide. It’s a prequel featuring Alice and explores her relationship with her own mother. I have the feeling that it was originally part of Leaving Time but was possibly cut by an editor, given that a similar theme of mother-daughter bonds/ relationship is featured in both Larger than Life and Leaving Time.

There’s another prequel featuring Serenity but it may only be sold as an ebook.
Profile Image for Lisa Spray.
8 reviews
March 20, 2017
Love the audio version for this ! This is a short story that goes along with the book "Leaving Time".
609 reviews7 followers
February 17, 2021
I guess I should have read this before I read Leaving Time. It was a precursor to that story. It was good but I already knew the story.
Profile Image for Kirsty.
475 reviews73 followers
July 23, 2022
I bought this novella on a Kindle daily deal a long time ago and didn't re-read the blurb before I started it, so I had no idea what it was going in. I really enjoyed it and will definitely be picking up the associated novel, Leaving Time, and the short story, Where There's Smoke. This story centred around elephants, which are my favourite animal, and I think there was good characterisation achieved considering the short length of the story. There was also a real sense of place and I would have happily read more with this character in this place and time (I know the novel is set at a later time).
Profile Image for Eman.
204 reviews58 followers
December 4, 2019
Larger Than Life: A wonderful novella full of emotion, spotting the light on the relationships of mother/daughter, human/animal. Very well and smoothly written with a proper use of flashbacks. I was intrigued to read it once I knew Jodi PicoultJodi Picoult the author wrote My Sister's Keeper which is another wonderful work.

The writer takes us in a journey to Botswana, South Africa. Alice is a scientist/naturalist specialized in studying wildlife who rescues a little elephant after surviving a massacre which hit its herd by a bunch of poachers. A strong bond builds up between Alice and the elephant calf, which will be named Lesego later on by Neo who is Alice's main squeeze. Yes, love will be in the air.

I have a soft spot for animals. Not ashamed to admit that I shed some tears in two certain occasions. How can a book this short hold so much emotion? Read it and if you're so sensitive like me, you will end up tearing, too.
Profile Image for Jean.
1,729 reviews753 followers
January 16, 2015
Jodi Picoult’s novella is set in Botswana in 1999. The protagonist is naturalist and researcher Alice Metcalf whose focus is studying elephants. Alice has had a passion for elephants since she was ten years old. This is an issue novel about ivory poaching.

The book opens with Alice in the middle of a massacre of elephants by poachers after ivory. She discovers a 3 week elephant calf trying to nurse its dead mother. Alice risks her career to care for the calf.

I found the information about elephants fascinating. When I downloaded the e-book if had not realized it is a prequel to a new book coming out later by the Author. The book is a heartwarming easy to read and provides a great deal of information about elephants. I obtained this novella from iTunes to read in iBook on my iPad.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,078 reviews

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