Title: Larger Than Life
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publication Date: August 4, 2014
Source: personal purchase
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
This will be short and sweet, partly because I already said quite a bit about this selection earlier in the week, and partly because the novella is pretty short and sweet on its own. This is a great precursor to Jodi Picoult's new book, Leaving Time, which is being released in about 2 weeks. Despite the small size of Larger Than Life, by the time I hit the last page, I felt invested in the characters and was dying to know what would come next for them in Leaving Time. This gives you an interesting POV too, because Alice (the protagonist in Larger Than Life) has disappeared after an accident when you encounter her in Leaving Time. This will definitely leave you curious about where Alice's story will fit in to the longer novel.
This novella does not match exactly what you've come to expect from Jodi Picoult's novels. No multiple-POV format, no legal case, no crazy-twist ending. It does, however, include all of the emotional upheaval and deep character development that she is known for. By the end, I was impressed by how many heart-wrenching scenes she was able to place into one small package. No loss of passion here, that's for sure.
If the purpose of this novella is to get you ravenously interested in Leaving Time, then as you may have guessed: mission accomplished.