Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lone Wolf; Jodi Picoult


Title:  Lone Wolf
Author:  Jodi Picoult
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Atria
Edition: Hardcover
Setting: New Hampshire
Source: sent by publisher
Date Completed: 2/26/2012
Rating: 5/5
Recommend: yes

Jodi Picoult, is an author known for her novels dealing with complex and controversial issues,  Her 19th novel, Lone Wolf,  just released.  The story for the most part takes place in Beresford, New Hampshire, and once again, it's a story which packs a punch.

When Cara Warren, age 17, calls her father, Luke to pick her up after being out with friends who have had a bit too much to drink, father and daughter are involved in a serious automobile accident.  Where Cara recovers from her injuries after surgery, her father is not so lucky. Luke has suffered a TMI (traumatic brain injury) and has only a 10% chance of recovery.  He is being kept alive by life support -- a ventilator and feeding tube.

Luke is divorced from Cara's mom Georgie, and has been estranged from their son Edward for the last six years.  Edward, left home at age 18, after an incident involving his father Luke.  He left a note for his mother, but never bothered to said goodbye to his father.  When Edward receives a frantic call from his mother, Georgie, informing him about his sister and father's accident, Edward takes a 24 hour flight home from Bangkok, Thailand where he has been living and teaching.

With no legal advance directives in place for Luke, the siblings find themselves at odds over whether or not to end their father's life, and a legal battle ensues.  To complicate matters, Edward locates a handwritten note of his fathers, giving him the authority to make decisions for him if he were ever unable to make them for himself. Edward was just 15 at the time that both parties signed the note.  It was signed at a time when Luke, a man with a Zoology degree who loved the great outdoors, had decided to leave his family to spend (2) years in the Canadian forest living among the wolves and studying wolf migration.  The same man who use to tell his children that if he could have chosen to never interact with humans again he would have. ---According to Luke, "animals don't disappoint as humans do."

----" A wolf pack is like the Mafia, everyone has a position in it; everyone is expected to pull it's own weight."

---"My father taught me wolves can read emotion and illnesses the way humans read headlines."

The story is told in alternating chapters by the characters.  Luke, Georgie, Cara, Edward, and Georgie's new husband Joe, an attorney.  All of the characters were developed, most were sympathetic, and each interesting and complex in their own way. Some of the characters have baggage and secrets, each has a story to tell. I enjoyed all of their stories however, in my opinion, it was with Luke's character that the author outdid herself  with some powerful characterization -- simply fantastic.

As I read the chapters from Luke's POV, I was moved by all that I read about the world of wolves, and interesting dynamics between pack behaviors, and human behavior.  Throughout the story Luke compares how wolves versus humans might have reacted in a particular situation. It is obvious that Picoult did her homework while researching the behaviors of wolves with experts in the field. Luke's childhood and young adulthood, his life as a husband and father, is ever-so-interesting, as is the in-depth account about his life spent among the wolves.  A man who many people thought of as a genius, while others thought of as insane.  The writing in this area is riveting!  I loved how the author was able to demonstrate Luke's less than perfect parenting skills, but yet his unquestionable love for his children.

---"People assumed that the reason I walked away from the pack that day was because of the harsh conditions had finally become overwhelming -- the weather, the cold, the near starvation, the constant threat of predators.  But the real reason I came back is much simpler.  -- If I hadn't left at that moment, I know I would have stayed forever".

As you can probably tell, I really loved Lone Wolf. It was at times both thought-provoking and emotional.  Especially heartfelt was watching what Georgie had to endure, as she witnessed her two children battling over their father's fate.  This page-turner should make for some lively book club discussions. Highly Recommended.

24 comments:

  1. You absolutely sold me on this one! I've avoided her last couple books because I felt that her stories were growing stale, now I see I will have to give this book a serious chance!

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  2. Wow, this does sound really good! I haven't read Picoult in awhile, but I think I'll have to give this newest book a try. Great review!

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  3. This sounds like just the sort of book I love -- academia, family, society and culture. I have never read anything by Picoult, but this might be the one! Thanks for your great review.

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  4. Jodi Picoult is coming here on March 17, so I'll be reading this one soon.

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  5. I forgot to say I'm glad it's so good - knowing that makes me look forward to it even more!

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  6. My book club is reading this book for March/April, so I will be back after I read the book to read your review. I don't want anyone to sway my reaction. :)

    I'm SO happy you gave this 5 stars!

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  7. I just read a bit in the AARP magazine, which for some reason :), has started arriving at house, in which Picoult revealed she learned to howl like a wolf as part of researching this book.

    I've never read any of her books, but the premise is interesting. All I know about wolves I learned from Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf :)

    Good review!

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  8. Interesting that there is a connection between human behavior and wolf pack behavior in this book. Enjoyed your review. Sounds like a good read.

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  9. Picoult's stories are always emotional and gripping. Sounds like this is no exception. I'll start looking for it at the library. Thanks for the review.

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  10. Wow, I'm surprised. I didn't think Jodi Picoult wrote books like this. This sounds pretty good!

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  11. This was such a lovely review, and makes me want to rush out and try this book. I am betting that it's going to be a big hit with all the Picoult fans out there, and it sounds as if it is a great addition to her work. Fantastic review today!

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  12. Oh, I can't wait to read this one! I just got an e-mail that my copy has shipped. My fingers are tingling, eager to grab onto it!

    I like your review, which makes the story sound really tempting. Not surprising, since this author always grabs my interest.

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  13. Fantastic review, as always. One to consider then??

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  14. Glad to hear this one is so good!! I took a bit of a Picoult break, but will be reading this one.

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  15. I have to know … is there a legal proceeding in this book or did she finally break away from her formula? She can write (and does good research) but she's been bugging me lately with her stubbon resistance to changing her formula.

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    1. There is a legal proceeding once again. I know what you mean as that sometimes seems to drag, but it wasn't quite like that in this book.

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  16. Lone Wolf sounds like another excellent book by Jodi Picoult, emotional, hard hitting, and absorbing. Diane, please add this terrific review to my Jodi Picoult Project reading challenge Mr. Linky when you have a free moment.

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  17. Picoult is a bit of a hit-or-miss author for me, but I really should read more from her. Great review of this book!

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  18. This one does sound interesting. It amazes me how many people have not discussed their wishes in matters like this with their children. Our kids know exactly where we stand and there would be no squabbling over whether to "pull the plug" or not.

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  19. I have a hard time with this author's writing. It often seems overly bleak but without reason. If that makes any sense at all.

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  20. I started reading Lone Wolf late last night. I meant to read the first chapter or two, but I could not put it down! It's so good. I agree with you, so far I'm enjoying the chapters from Luke's perspective the best. I'm enjoying the parallels between wolves behavior and human behavior. Such a good book! Well written review Diane!

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  21. I don't think I've heard a negative thing about this book. Hmmm I may try to get it in audio format.

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  22. I am about 1/2 way thru Lone Wolf, Jodi Picoult is my all time favorite author. I cannot wait to finish to see what will happen to this family.

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