Jodi Picoult


“My mother would never have left me behind, not willingly. If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to prove it.”

Throughout her blockbuster career, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult has seamlessly blended nuanced characters, riveting plots, and rich prose, brilliantly creating stories that “not only provoke the mind but touch the flawed souls in all of us” (The Boston Globe). Now, in her highly anticipated new novel, she has delivered her most affecting work yet—a book unlike anything she’s written before.

Biographical sketch

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-three novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Between the Lines, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle With Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister's Keeper. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.


For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts.

Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest. The first is Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons—only to later doubt her gifts. The second is Virgil Stanhope, a jaded private detective who originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they’ll have to face even harder answers.

As Jenna’s memories dovetail with the events in her mother’s journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent page-turner, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.

grounds of the Elephant Sanctuary

With Professor Abigail Baird on the grounds of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, researching for 2014.

I had the pleasure of spending time there with the caregivers and their “girls”. Both African and Asian elephants spend their days in their own respective habitats, "just being elephants". 2700 acres of wooded hills, valleys, ponds, creeks and a lake are available to these elephants, retired from circuses and zoos. Heated state-of-the-art barns are always open for their choosing. Enjoy watching these Big Girls dusting, napping, swimming and socializing with their friends.

Tune in to the Elecam to see the Girls and their daily activities! »

A Conversation with Jodi about Leaving Time

I started to write Leaving Time when I was in the process of becoming an empty-nester. My daughter Sammy was headed off to school. I was thinking a lot of how we humans raise our kids to be self sufficient enough to leave us – and how depressing it was for those who were left behind. That theme – of what happens to the people who are left behind – became what I wanted to write about. Then, I was reading something and learned that in the wild, an elephant mother and daughter stay together their whole lives until one of them dies. Given my frame of mind, it seemed so much more pleasant to do things the way elephants do. I began to dig a bit more about elephants, and their reaction to death, and what I uncovered became a metaphor for the novel.

For the character of Alice, who studies elephant cognition, I went first to a professor at Vassar – Abigail Baird – who taught me all about the brain and how memory works. Then, we ventured to Botswana to work with Jeanetta Selier, a Ph.D. researcher who studies herds in the Tuli block. You probably know a lot about elephants already – like the fact that they are the largest land mammals, 7-10K pounds. They’re herbivores. They are recognizable by tusks, hair, voice, and ears – elephant ears are as individual as human fingerprints. They live for 50-70 years in the wild, and adult females live in herds made of a matriarch – the oldest and biggest elephant – and two to ten females. Babies are allomothered, which means that they are cared for by all females in the herd, and older siblings get to practice their parenting skills before actually becoming moms. Male elephants are chased from the herd at about age 13 by the matriarch, when they first come into musth, a state where they get very aggressive and want to mate. They roam with small groups of males.

What you may NOT know about elephants is that they have an incredibly complex brain, capable of communicating, learning, remembering, and experiencing fear, pain and loss. In Kenya, there are two tribes that interact with the elephants frequently. The Masaai use spears to hunt them, and wear red. The Kamba are farmers who don’t hunt elephant. Scientists have proven that elephants can distinguish between the two groups by smell and sight. Herds showed greater fear when showed red garments – which suggests cognitive capacity and long term memory. Even elephants who had no direct experience with Masaai reacted this way, suggesting social learning and communication.

Joyce Poole, a famous elephant researcher, has done studies of empathy in elephants. She recounts how one elephant flinched when another reached toward an electric fence, even though the fence was inactive. There have been multiple reports of elephants helping to free rhino babies caught in a mud hole, although there is no evolutionary advantage to that behavior. They refuse to leave sick or injured elephants behind, even if the sick animal is not related to them.

The memory of an elephant? Turns out it’s a real thing. At the Elephant Sanctuary in TN, elephants reacted so badly to helicopters and planes that they had to institute a no fly zone overhead. The only helicopters most of these elephants would have ever encountered was 40-50 years prior, during the culls when they were captured and brought to the US.

The relationships of elephants last a lifetime. At The Elephant Sanctuary in TN, an elephant named Jenny was living peacefully when a new elephant, Shirley, arrived. When Shirley came into the barn that night, in the stall beside Jenny’s, Jenny began to pound at the bars between them, trying to get to Shirley. The caregivers eventually opened the gate between them and immediately Shirley and Jenny began to move in tandem – staying inseparable. When Jenny lay down to sleep, Shirley would straddle her, like a mother elephant would a calf. It turned out that when Jenny was a calf and Shirley was 30, they had both been at the same circus for a brief while. They had been separated for 22 years, but recognized each other. In Pilanesberg in S. Africa, there was a reserve for elephants who had been orphaned after culls for population control. But putting together a bunch of teen elephants didn’t work, and two matriarchs were brought over from the US, where they had been trained and living. Sixteen years passed, and these two matriarchs managed to whip the teen elephants into herd formation, going without human contact for 16 years. Then, one of the elephants, Owalla, was bitten by a hippo. For medical reasons she couldn’t be sedated and researchers knew she would die if not treated. Worse, if she died, the fragile herd would likely fall apart again. Desperate, they reached out to Randall Moore – the original trainer of Owalla, who had not seen her for over a decade. He flew to Pilanesberg, got out of his vehicle, and called Owalla’s name. While her herd ran away, terrified, Owalla greeted Randall, following his commands to lift her trunk and stay still so she could be treated by a vet without anesthetic.

Elephants have elaborate rituals of grief, much like humans. If an elephant comes across the bones of another elephant, it will be quiet and reverential. The tail and ears will droop. They will pick up the bones and roll them beneath their hind feet. They only do this with elephant bones, not the bones of other animals. They will return to the spot of a herd member’s passing and pay respects for years to come. They will often cover an elephant who dies with branches and dirt. They’ve been known to break into research camps to steal a bone a scientist is working with, and to return it to the spot of that elephant’s demise. But the most lovely story of grief I learned came from the Elephant Sanctuary. An elephant named Sissy survived the 1981 Gainesville flood and was brought, traumatized, to the Sanctuary. She took to carrying a tire around, like a pacifier. After a while, she befriended another elephant there named Tina. When Tina died, Sissy stayed at her grave for a day. Then, she lay her tire down on her best friend’s grave, like a wreath, and left – almost as if she knew that Tina was the one who needed comfort, now.

If you learn this much about elephants, you can’t NOT be moved by their plight in both captivity and the wild. The point of zoos was to develop breeding programs and more importantly to encourage conservation of animals that might not be indigenous to a country.  However, the need for this has been reduced as the internet has developed.  Any school kid, for example, can learn about elephants in Africa with a click.  Elephants suffer greatly in captivity.  The zoo habitat is never large enough to accommodate an elephant.  Moreover, elephants live in herds, so creating a "fake herd" of two of three elephants is much like throwing a human into a cell with a stranger and assuming they will be fast friends.  75% of elephants in North American zoos are overweight, 40% have foot or joint problems, and 80% have behavioral tics like head bobbing or swaying due to stress.  For every elephant born in a zoo, another two die -- so even saying that zoos foster breeding programs is not quite accurate.  Ideally, elephants should not be in zoos.  Sanctuaries allow an elephant to live out the rest of its life in a habitat that is hundreds of acres, and to not be on display -- in sanctuaries, elephants set their time for coming and going.  

Of course, elephants in the wild are not thriving either.  In Africa, 38K elephants are killed each year by poachers.  The first hint that a population is being poached is a disparity between females and males – because poachers go for the biggest tusks. Once all the males are gone, the poachers go after the matriarchs – but the collateral damage of losing a matriarch is huge. If a matriarch dies, so does the collective knowledge of that family, and the society disintegrates. The herd won’t know where the best water holes are, in times of drought. They won’t know the safest travel corridors. Any nursing babies die if their mothers are killed. Right now the estimate is that in ten years there will be no more African elephants.

But poaching isn’t just a wildlife crisis – it’s a humanitarian concern. The price of an ounce of ivory has skyrocketed from $150 to $1300, due to demand from the Far East (Southeast Asia and China).   Money from poaching fuels instability in Democratic African Republic, and there are rumors that Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army was funded with the proceeds of illegal ivory from the Democratic Republic of Congo. And lest you think poaching doesn't matter here in the US, every month 1-3 tons of ivory is poached by members of Al Shabaab, a terrorist group in Somalia with clear links to Al Quaeda.

So how do we save these magnificent, intelligent animals? We need to continue to spread the word about poaching, as Tusk and the Clinton Global Initiative have done.  The UN has created a resolution saying that poaching fuels instability in countries, and President Obama banned ivory trade in the US.  China even destroyed stores of illegal ivory, crushing it, which set a great example. This is all a good start.  But in addition, the countries where poaching is the worst needs to offer their farmers an economic alternative to the one being offered by poachers.  Local governments need to see that the cost of losing tourism will far exceed the immediate cash flow of poaching elephants, and need to create punishments for poachers that reflect this.  At the same time, those who demand ivory need to be educated about the reality of poaching -- many believe that an elephant can regrow a tusk, which is not true; the only way to get an elephant tusk is to kill the elephant.  Here in the US, if you are concerned about elephants, donate time and money to an accredited antipoaching organization.  And write your congressional representatives and tell them to support the presidential initiative against poaching.  Because I promise you – once you read LEAVING TIME, you’re never going to think about elephants quite the same way.

What others are saying about Leaving Time

Readers are very excited about this book, which, as you know, if you were one of the many who picked up a signed ARC at BEA, delivers a mighty surprise. The author personally requests in a note on the back of the galley that readers “not reveal the ending or offer any spoilers in reviews or social media.” So, please, don’t do it! Here’s what I can tell you: heartbroken 13-year-old Jenna Metcalf is determined to find her mother, Alice, who disappeared ten years earlier. Armed with hope, childhood memories, and clues taken from Alice’s surviving journals, Jenna sets out to solve the mystery of her mother’s whereabouts and to understand how this woman, a devoted caretaker and talented research scientist who pioneered the study of grief among elephants, could have abandoned her.
    Jenna’s first stop for help is with former celebrity psychic Serenity, whose ability to communicate with the other side has seriously waned. However, moved by Jenna’s plight and some odd signals from beyond, Serenity agrees to offer assistance, even if it means faking her clairvoyant powers. Next on the team is Virgil Stanhope, a washed-up private eye with firsthand knowledge of the cold case connected to Alice’s disappearance. The novel’s heroine, however, is Alice, whose journey is one of marriage, motherhood, and a mind on the brink of discovery. Her voice, combined with Picoult’s fascinating research on elephants and their behavior, adds layers to the narrative’s complexity. At the end, readers will be stunned and satisfied, as the surprise is indeed a well-kept secret.

—Library Journal

Book club discussion questions for Leaving Time

  1. What measures does Jenna take to find her mom?
  2. Jenna “sometimes thinks it would be easier for me to learn that my mother had died 10 years go than to hear that she live and chose not to return” Discuss (p.24)
  3. Jenna finds a dollar bill origami-folded in the shape of an elephant and remembers her mother doing it. In what way does this serve as a symbol in the book?
  4. Jenna goes to see a psychic, Serenity – who “had” the gift and lost it. Do you believe in psychics? Why or why not?
  5. What caused the purple mushrooms to grow under the massive oak tree?
  6. Using her phone, what does Jenna find out about Serenity? How would you deal with the information? Is Jenna right to trust her?
  7. How does Serenity describe her childhood? Who are Lucinda and Desmond? What makes them leave?
  8. Serenity dreams about Jenna’s mother. What makes Serenity decide to help Jenna?
  9. Alice describes the death ritual the elephants followed for the death of Bontle. Were you aware that elephants had elaborate grief rituals? Does this change your opinion about elephants?
  10. What is the significance of finding Alice’s wallet?
  11. Why is Jenna’s father in Hartwick House?
  12. How is Virgil a “typical” cop? What makes him atypical?
  13. What triggers the cops to take Thomas Metcalf to the psychiatric hospital? What happens while they’re doing that?
  14. Virgil learns about the cover up sanctioned by his boss. What does he do? In what ways does this continue to haunt him?
  15. Why does Virgil agree to help Jenna find Alice?
  16. The conversation between Alice and Thomas gives the reader insight of their relationship. Discuss. (p.105)
  17. “Maybe growing up is just focusing on what you’ve got, instead of what you don’t.” Discuss.
  18. Negative moments get remembered. Traumatic ones get forgotten. Do you agree? Disagree? (p.126)
  19. Alice changes her focus of her research to studying the grief elephants show. This angers her boss. In what ways is the study of grief and mourning scientific? In what ways is it too subjective for that? (p. 157)
  20. Thomas describes grief as a really ugly couch. Discuss. (p. 176)
  21. Allomothering is how elephants raise their young. Do you think “it takes a village” to raise a child? In what ways is this supported by the book, and Jenna’s relationship with the other lead characters?
  22. After Jenna and Virgil have their falling out, Serenity picks up Jenna and drops her off near her home. Jenna goes to the sanctuary and falls asleep, dreaming about being in nursery school. What does her drawing of a family reveal?
  23. Alice realizes she is pregnant and makes plans to go visit Thomas at the Sanctuary. Why doesn’t she tell him about the baby?
  24. Clearly Thomas is a romantic. What is he holding when he meets Alice at the airport? What is its significance in their relationship? Later, Thomas does the same thing. How is that time different?
  25. “And I thought—not for the first time—that forgiving and forgetting aren’t mutually exclusive.” Discuss. (p. 219)
  26. When the new elephant, Maura, is introduced to the sanctuary, what decision does Alice make? In what way does the elephant’s acclimation to the sanctuary mirror Alice’s life choice?
  27. Serenity compares her job as a psychic and Virgil’s job as a detective: “We both know what questions to ask. We both know what questions not to ask. We are fluent in body language. We live and breathe intuition.” Discuss. (p.228)
  28. Why does Alice feel such a kinship with Maura? (p. 283)
  29. “One of the most amazing things about elephants mourning is the wild is their ability to grieve hard, but then truly, unequivocally, let go.” Do you believe humans can do the same? Discuss. (p. 241)
  30. Why does Nevvie insist that she is right to go ahead and bury Maura’s baby? How does Gideon help Alice try to “right” the wrong?
  31. “Keeping a secret isn’t always lying. Sometimes it’s the only way to protect the person you love.” Discuss.
  32. While Thomas is in the shower, Alice sneaks out to the barn to see what he has been working on. What does she discover? What does she ask Gideon to do? What do the strings of letters and numbers mean? What happens when Alice confronts Thomas?
  33. “There is no perspective in grief, or in love. How can there be, when one person becomes the center of the universe—either because he has been lost or because he has been found.” Discuss. (p.296)
  34. What does Alice do when she realizes she has fallen in love with another man?
  35. In what way does the title signify not just Jenna’s name for her nap, as a toddler, but the structure of the entire book?
  36. What do Serenity, Virgil, and Jenna find at the site of the purple mushrooms in the sanctuary? What do they do with it? What happens when Tallulah identifies the tooth as belonging to a child? What does Jenna remember?
  37. At what point in the story did you realize things may not be what they seem to be?
  38. What do you realize about Serenity’s psychic abilities by the end of the book?
  39. Alice’s disappearance resolves in an unlikely place. How is her current work linked to what’s happened to her?
  40. How does Alice’s scientific mindset compromise her ability to believe Serenity?
  41. “{If you think about someone you’ve loved and lost, you are already with them.” Agree? Disagree? Discuss. (p.400)
  42. “In the wild, an elephant mother and daughter stay together until one of them dies,” says Alice in her research. How does this thematically connect with the novel?

Related eShorts and Novellas

Don’t miss these eBook novellas, featuring characters from LEAVING TIME.

Larger Than Life

Set in the wilds of Africa, “Larger Than Life” introduces Alice, the unforgettable character at the center of LEAVING TIME, which goes on-sale in the US, Canada, and Australia on October 14th (4th November in the UK). Now available exclusively as an eBook.

Larger Than Life eBook

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.

Larger Than Life is $1.99 in the US & Canada, £1.49 in the UK, and $1.99 in Australia!

Buy the eBook from your favorite retailer!

Where There's Smoke


Introducing Serenity Jones and a new FREE eShort Story, Where There's Smoke.

Meet Serenity Jones -- one of the three narrators in LEAVING TIME.

Even as a child, Serenity Jones knew she possessed unusual psychic gifts. Now, decades later, she’s an acclaimed medium and host of her own widely viewed TV show, where she delivers messages to the living from loved ones who have passed. Lately, though, her efforts to boost ratings and garner fame have compromised her clairvoyant instincts. When Serenity books a young war widow to appear as a guest, the episode quickly unravels, stirring up troubling controversy. And as she tries to undo the damage—to both her reputation and her show—Serenity finds that pride comes at a high price.

DOWNLOAD Where There's Smoke »

Leaving Time jacket

An excerpt from Leaving Time



Some people used to believe that there was an elephant graveyard—a place that sick and old elephants would travel to die. They’d slip away from their herds and would lumber across the dusty landscape, like the titans we read about in seventh grade in Greek Mythology. Legend said the spot was in Saudi Arabia; that it was the source of a supernatural force; that it contained a book of spells to bring about world peace.

Explorers who went in search of the graveyard would follow dying elephants for weeks, only to realize they’d been led in circles. Some of these voyagers disappeared completely. Some could not remember what they had seen, and not a single explorer who claimed to find the graveyard could ever locate it again.

Here’s why: The elephant graveyard is a myth.

True, researchers have found groups of elephants that died in the same vicinity, many over a short period of time. My mother, Alice, would have said there’s a perfectly logical reason for a mass burial site: a group of elephants who died all at once due to lack of food or water; a slaughter by ivory hunters. It’s even possible that the strong winds in Africa could blow a scattering of bones into a concentrated pile. Jenna, she would have told me, there’s an explanation for everything you see.

There is plenty of information about elephants and death that are not fables, but instead cold, hard science. My mother would have been able to tell me that, too. We would have sat, shoulder to shoulder, beneath the massive oak where Maura liked to shade herself, watching the elephant pick up acorns with her trunk and pitch them. My mother would rate each toss like an Olympic judge. 8.5 . . . 7.9. Ooh! A perfect 10.

Maybe I would have listened. But maybe, too, I would have just closed my eyes. Maybe I would have tried to memorize the smell of bug spray on my mother’s skin, or the way she absent-mindedly braided my hair, tying it off on the end with a stalk of green grass.

Maybe the whole time I would have been wishing there really was an elephant graveyard, except not just for elephants. Because then I’d be able to find her.


When I was nine—before I grew up and became a scientist—I thought I knew everything, or at least I wanted to know everything, and in my mind there was no difference between the two. At that age, I was obsessed with animals. I knew that a group of tigers was called a “streak.” I knew that dolphins were carnivores. I knew that giraffes had four stomachs and that the leg muscles of a locust were 1000 times more powerful than the same weight of human muscle. I knew that white polar bears had black skin beneath their fur, and that jellyfish have no brains. I knew all these facts from the Time-Life monthly animal fact cards that I had received as a birthday gift from my father, who had moved out a year ago and now lived in San Francisco with his best friend Frank, who my mother called “the other woman” when she thought I wasn’t listening.

Every month new cards arrived in the mail, and then one day, in October of 1977, the best card of all arrived: the one about elephants. I cannot tell you why they were my favorite animal. Maybe it was my bedroom, with its green shag jungle carpet and the wallpaper border of cartoon pachyderms dancing across the walls. Maybe it was the fact that the first movie I’d ever seen, as a toddler, was Dumbo. Maybe it was because the silk lining inside my mother’s fur coat, the one she had inherited from her own mother, was made from an Indian sari and printed with elephants.

From that Time-Life card, I learned the basics about elephants. They were the largest land animals on the planet, sometimes weighing more than six tons. They ate 300-400 pounds of food each day. They had the longest pregnancy of any land mammal—22 months. They lived in breeding herds, led by a female matriarch, often the oldest member of the group. She was the one who decided where the group went every day, when they took a rest, where they ate and where they drank. Babies were raised and protected by all the female relatives in the herd, and traveled with them, but when males were about thirteen years old, they left—sometimes preferring to wander on their own, and sometimes gathering with other males in a bull group.

But those were facts that everyone knew. I, on the other hand, became obsessed and dug a little deeper, trying to find out everything I could at the school library and from my teachers and books. So I also could tell you that elephants got sunburned, which is why they would toss dirt on their backs and roll in the mud. Their closest living relative was the rock hyrax, a tiny furry thing that looked like a guinea pig. I knew that just like a human baby sucks its thumb to calm itself down, an elephant calf might sometimes suck its trunk. I knew that in 1916, in Erwin, Tennessee, an elephant named Mary was tried and hanged for murder.

In retrospect I am sure my mother got tired of hearing about elephants. Maybe that is why, one Saturday morning, she woke me before the sun came up and told me we were going on an adventure. There were no zoos near where we lived in Connecticut, but the Forest Park Zoo in Springfield, Massachusetts had a real, live elephant—and we were going to see her.

To say I was excited was an understatement. I peppered my mother with elephant jokes for hours:

What’s beautiful, gray, and wears glass slippers? Cinderelephant.

Why are elephants wrinkled? They don’t fit on the ironing board.

How do you get down from an elephant? You don’t. You get down from a goose.

Why do elephants have trunks? Because they’d look funny with glove compartments.

When we got to the zoo, I raced along the paths until I found myself standing in front of Morganetta the elephant.

Who looked nothing like what I had imagined.

This was not the majestic animal featured on my Time-Life card, or in the books I had studied. For one thing, she was chained to a giant cement block in the center, so that she couldn’t walk very far in any direction. There were sores on her hind legs from the shackles. She was missing an eye, and with her other, she wouldn’t look at me. I was just another person who had come to stare at her, in her prison.

My mother was stunned by her condition, too. She flagged down a zookeeper, who said that Morganetta had once been in local parades, and had done stunts like competing against undergrads in a tug-o’-war at a nearby school, but that she had gotten unpredictable and violent in her old age. She’d lashed out at visitors with her trunk if they came too close to her cage. She had broken a caretaker’s wrist.

I started to cry.

My mother bundled me back to the car for the four hour drive home, although we had only been at the zoo for ten minutes.

“Can’t we help her?” I asked.

This is how, at age nine, I became an elephant advocate. After a trip to the library, I sat down at my kitchen table, and I wrote to the mayor of Springfield, MA, asking him to give Morganetta more space, and more freedom.

He didn’t just write me back. He sent his response in the Boston Globe, who published it, and then a reporter called to do a story on the nine-year-old who had convinced the mayor to move Morganetta into the much larger buffalo enclosure at the zoo. I was given a special Concerned Citizen award at my elementary school assembly. I was invited back for the grand opening to cut the red ribbon with the mayor. Flash bulbs went off in my face, blinding me, as Morganetta roamed behind us. This time, she looked at me with her good eye. And I knew, I just knew, she was still miserable. The things that had happened to her—the chains and the shackles, the cage and the beatings, maybe even the memory of the moment she was taken out of a forest somewhere in Africa—all that was still with her in that buffalo enclosure, and it took up all the extra space.

For the record, Mayor Dimauro did continue to try to make life better for Morganetta. In 1979, after the demise of Forest Park’s resident polar bear, the facility closed and Morganetta was moved to the Los Angeles Zoo. Her home there was much bigger. It had a pool, and toys, and two older elephants.

If I knew back then what I know now, I could have told the mayor that just because you stick an elephant in proximity with others does not mean they will form friendships. They are as unique in their personalities as humans are, and just as you would not assume that two random humans would become close friends, you should not assume that two elephants will bond simply because they are both elephants. Morganetta continued to spiral deeper into depression, losing weight and deteriorating. Approximately one year after she arrived in LA, she was found dead in the bottom of the enclosure’s pool.

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.