As usual, Ms. Picoult's books combine her artful talent of telling a story from all different characters' perspectives, to illuminating some type of moral or ethical dilemma. So on the one hand, this story is about family relationships, especially siblings, and about quality of life issues & euthanasia.
But the backdrop for the story is this fascinating character who has lived among wild wolf populations. As a biologist, this was mesmerizing to read about, especially when you find from the forward and acknowledgements that she loosely bases the character on a real man, Shaun Ellis.
Picoult's books are always a fast read - her multi-perspective writing really keeps the pace moving well, but the background story made it hard for me to put down. Possibly one of my favorites by her, not so much for the "wow factor" at the penultimate plot twists (normally a nice plus in her books), but for the great combination of her writing style and her characters this time around.
I'm not sure why I didn't connect with the characters of this book but I didn't. I guess the reader is expected to sympathize with an irrational, emotionally unstable teen OR her arrogant, selfish and indulgant father. I found myself in Joe's corner even though I don't think he really had one. I appreciated the difficulty of his situation more than any of the others.
As for the "pack", I appreciated the first 50 pages of wolf research, but it lost luster with me pretty quickly.
I've read at least 4 other novels by this author and usually have to prepare myself emotionally before I dive into one of her stories. She can usually get an emotional rise out of me a few times before the end, but this one just had me feeling like she was using wolf factoids as a filler to make this book a novel.
Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2012/03/lone-wolf.html
Lone Wolf is like reading two books in one. One deals with the human story of Luke Warren and his family - his ex-wife Georgie, his estranged son Edward, and his adoring daughter Cara. The other deals with Luke Warren's experiences as a biologist and environmentalist and his life with the wolves. The family story is the crux of the book. The stories about Luke's experiences with the wolves come across as interludes of educational pieces about wolves as animals, the pack culture, and the lessons we can learn from them.
The family story tells of the man who left (deserted?) his family for two years to pursue a personal passion. It tells of the wife left behind and the choices she made. It tells the story of Edward, his son who learns that you can leave but wherever you go, you bring your thoughts and emotions with you. It tells the story of Cara, the child split apart by a divorce trying to find her place within her family.
As with all Jodi Picoult books, a central key theme exists in this family story. For this book, the theme is that of terminating life support. Luke Warren is in a car accident and not expected to recover. Different family members have different opinions on life support. People take sides. Lawyers get involved. Choices are made. Family history is rehashed. Family secrets are revealed.
Also, as with most Jodi Picoult's books, there is an unexpected twist towards the end. I don't want to give any spoilers. I will just say that I felt that story line was completely unnecessary and did not add to the book at all.
I have honestly not liked some of Jodi Picoult's recent books. They have had twists I did not like or feel necessary. The endings have sometimes gone in a direction that did not mesh with the rest of the story. However, whenever a new one comes out, I feel compelled to read it. Her books deal with such serious human issues. I don't always agree with her take on the issues, but I am glad they are discussed and brought forth in this manner. So, while I did not love this book, I probably will read her next one when it comes out.
Jodi Picoult lets us into another family and personal portrait. She is brilliant at helping us understand the inexplicable quirks and unexplainable actions of others while weaving an interesting tale. As usual I felt like part of the story with all it's pain and struggles. This story is about a man who develops a bond with wolves much more so than with humans. He goes so far as to seek them out and live with them as one of the pack. We learn a lot about how the wolf pack behaves which is interesting in itself. The other side of the story is how it impacts the family - each and every one of them.
I LOVED this book. I have read most of Picoult's and this is probably the most gripping, wonderful one to me. I have enjoyed all of her books, the suspense, the legal questions, the medical ethics. This one just appealed to me, and I had to keep reading! I highly recommend this book!
Jodi Picoult is an excellent writer and Lone Wolf, is another example of her skill.
The struggle between siblings when there is a difference of opinion about medical issues involving parents takes center stage.
Edward and Cara have been estranged for years. Edward returs after their father is in a devastating car accident. The siblings don't agree on the choice of what Luke their father would want or what he would consider quality of life.
Its a heart wrenching and eye opening story that I couldn't put down until the end.
You can read plenty of reviews that explain the plot. My review was for an audio version, with many narrators. Each reading for the various characters, even LUKE who is in a vegetative state.
Now to be honest I really don't find I am the Jodi Picoult fan that some are. I find her books to be cutting edge, current affair issues, that have social and moral debates. I find sometimes the author doesn't take a STAND one way or the other, just presents the issues and her story. This book was published in 2012, but the relevance is a current topic today. To remove life support and donate organs or wait it out.
I found out some interesting, and I hope true information about wolves and a wolf pack, which was way more interesting that the characters lives.
I really think if you love Jodi Picoult, you will love this book. My daughter and I are both in the MEH! area when it comes to this author.
I could not wait for this audio to be over, as I just didn't care. I did finish it though. I recommend that you finish the book, and form your own opinion and review.
Another winner by Jodi Picoult. I enjoyed this audiobook and learning so much about wolves. The plot was believable and the characters lovable. This book was long, but it kept my attention.