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Review: Lone Wolf

March 20, 2012

Luke Warren seems to love his wolves more than his family.  When he leaves his family for two years to live with wolves in the wild, his marriage falls apart.  Just after he turns eighteen, his son, Edward, escapes to Thailand and hasn’t returned for a visit in the six years since.  Luke’s ex-wife has remarried and had more children, so his daughter, Cara, has come to live with him.  Cara goes to a party she shouldn’t have and calls her dad to come get her.  On their way home, they’re in an accident and they’re both injured – Luke is brain-dead.  After a phone call from his mother, Edward comes home and he and Cara disagree on how to care for Luke.

Lone Wolf, by Jodi Picoult, deftly weaves the story of a family struggling with grief and betrayal with the story of wolves and I was invested in the story from the beginning.  As you would expect in a Picoult novel, she addresses an issue – this time it’s about the right time to terminate life support.  Picoult does her homework and gives readers a lot to think about.

I was hooked by Lone Wolf right from the start.  This family is damaged and hurting because of secrets and betrayal and each member handles it in a different way.  Luke escapes with his wolves, Edward runs away, and Cara hides behind her attitude.  A tragedy forces them back together and they’re forced to face each other and their issues at the same time they’re having to make a momentous decision.

Told from multiple points of view (including Luke’s) in the past and the present, I found both the story and the characters interesting.  The characters are far from perfect, but they’re real and, for the most part, easy to relate to.   Alternating with the family’s story is the story of Luke and his wolves and I found it fascinating.

Fans of Picoult are sure to love this book and I think others will as well.  It would be fantastic for a book club because it brings up so many issues:

  • When should life support be terminated?
  • Is it acceptable to terminate life support in order to harvest organs for donation?
  • Who has the right to make these decisions?

Simon and Schuster has already created a great reading group guide that includes questions, an interview with the author plus links for further reading.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

48 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2012 6:29 am

    Sounds like Picoult has done it again! I’m looking forward to this one!

  2. March 20, 2012 6:42 am

    I will buy this one! Thanks!

  3. March 20, 2012 7:09 am

    Glad u enjoyed this one as well. Nice review Kathy.

  4. Beth F permalink
    March 20, 2012 7:47 am

    I really need to read a Picoult book. I’m not quite sure why I’m hesitant.

    • bonniejacobs permalink
      March 20, 2012 4:46 pm

      Beth, I think you should try one. I’ve read all Picoult’s novels, and every one is different. Yet each one is relevant, as though she took each one from tomorrow morning’s headlines. Of course, I prefer some over others, but reading her books is not like reading a series. Her books always make me think, and my pondering continues — off and on — for years. I’m on the waiting list for this latest book at my library, but may have to buy it, if the waiting takes too long.

  5. March 20, 2012 8:04 am

    I am not a big fan of Picoult, but this book does interest me, and makes me think that I should give her work a try once more. This sounds like a great book, and I loved the introspective quality of your review. Thanks, Kathy!

  6. sandynawrot permalink
    March 20, 2012 8:21 am

    Oh, I always get drawn into her books, but they always make me…I don’t know. Despondent? Horrified? Depressed? She tackles such torturous topics! I can only take in very small doses, or I’d have to check myself in somewhere.

  7. March 20, 2012 8:38 am

    I’ve only read a few Jodi Picoult novels, and each time I find that I’m less than impressed. I’m glad that you enjoyed this one.

  8. MonieG permalink
    March 20, 2012 10:52 am

    I’ve gone away from Picoult books in the last few years but this one catches my attention. I think I’ll give it a try. Thanks!!

  9. Amy @ My Friend Amy permalink
    March 20, 2012 10:55 am

    Sounds like this book definitely gives you a lot to think about!

  10. March 20, 2012 10:57 am

    An issue I feel strongly about and wolves = a book I must read. It will be my first for this author. Who knows? Maybe I’ll read more of them.

  11. March 20, 2012 11:40 am

    I have only read a couple of Picoult books… but enjoyed them all. I will definitely have to look into this one. She does weave a great and believable story! Thanks for the review Kathy.

  12. talesofwhimsy permalink
    March 20, 2012 12:24 pm

    This sounds like a real thought provoker. Great review.

  13. March 20, 2012 12:41 pm

    Interesting review. Thank You

  14. March 20, 2012 1:24 pm

    I’ve never read a Picoult book but I have heard great things about this one!

  15. March 20, 2012 1:27 pm

    Excellent, succinct review, Kathy! It does sound like a thought-provoking novel about very important issues.

    When you have a moment, please add a link to your review to my reading challenge, The Jodi Picoult Project. 🙂

  16. March 20, 2012 2:00 pm

    When I talk to readers they either love her books or hate them. I have yet to read one.

  17. Literary Feline permalink
    March 20, 2012 2:29 pm

    I didn’t even know Picoult had a new book out. This one does sound interesting, although I am not sure I will read it. I kind of pick and choose what I read by this author nowadays. Not everything she writes appeals to me.

  18. March 20, 2012 2:41 pm

    I’ve avoided her books in part because they are “issues” books. I know that many people love her stories though, but those who don’t have kind of scared me off from her books.

    • bonniejacobs permalink
      March 20, 2012 4:49 pm

      Alyce, I know you as a thinker, and her books WILL make you think. Pick an issue that interests you — this one or another — and try it.

  19. March 20, 2012 3:15 pm

    This review has me interested in Picoult’s book! I haven’t read one of her books yet, but this may just be the one.

  20. March 20, 2012 3:25 pm

    I have enjoyed every Picoult book I have read. I haven’t read them all but have read more than a handful. I was excited to see another. I love the drama, research and personal perspective she adds to her books. Great review.

  21. March 20, 2012 3:36 pm

    Her books are always so like that, aren’t they….a lovely review.

  22. March 20, 2012 3:40 pm

    Sounds like a heavy read. Definitely would encourage some good discussion at a book club.

  23. March 20, 2012 3:55 pm

    Thank you for this review. I have read some reviews that liked it and some that didn’t but I am putting it on my wishlist.


  24. March 20, 2012 4:05 pm

    I love how her books go into those controversial topics and makes you really think. I sort of forgot how much I enjoyed her books and missed a couple over the past few years. I definitely need to catch back up… I’ve read almost all of them!

  25. Linda permalink
    March 20, 2012 4:17 pm

    Just finished reading this book. I liked it. Her books always make me think.

  26. March 20, 2012 4:38 pm

    Never read a book by her, but I sure feel like everyone else have 😉

  27. Beth Hoffman permalink
    March 20, 2012 4:44 pm

    This is on my list, and I’m so glad to know you enjoyed it!

  28. March 20, 2012 5:13 pm

    Nice review, I’d probably like the part about the wolves. It might be enough to get me through the depressing parts. I’m another one who hasn’t read a Jodi Picoult book yet. No particular reason as I’ll occasionally pick a book that delves into an issue.

  29. March 20, 2012 5:43 pm

    I have seen this book quite a bit lately and reading your review, it’s going on my wish list. Fantastic review. Thank you.

  30. March 20, 2012 6:21 pm

    I’ve never been all that interested in reading one of her books before now. You make this one sound interesting and compelling.

  31. kaye permalink
    March 20, 2012 7:13 pm

    That is a heavy topic but I think it should be discussed in families BEFORE the need arises.
    Glad you enjoyed the story so much.

  32. March 20, 2012 7:41 pm

    ARGH! I was trying not to read much about this book because I don’t WANT to love Picoult as much as I do…but now I am going to have to read it.

    Have you read her book Mercy, though? Because I feel like she might have touched on a lot of these issues in that, too. I am wondering how this one is different and would love to hear your thoughts if you have read both.

  33. March 20, 2012 7:54 pm

    Well, I was interested to hear what you had to say on this one! :] You gave it a good but not stellar review, just as I did, in the end. It was a good book, but not Jodi’s best, as I said. She brought up some issues that a book group could discuss, but the story itself wasn’t all that compelling in the end, to me. I also found out that there are some conflicting issues around the wolf behaviors…but, you know that was the best of the book for me, so I’m not touching it!! LOL I posted a review of the books I felt are the best of Jodi’s writings on my blog. I hope people know she’s capable of some great writing, and will be in the future! Good show for you!! Deborah/TheBookishDame

  34. Staci@LifeintheThumb permalink
    March 20, 2012 8:28 pm

    Great questions and I’m actually looking forward to reading this one. I requested the audio because Diane really loved listening to it.

  35. March 20, 2012 8:45 pm

    Hmmmm…I’m just not sure about this one. I used to read all of her books but am getting tired of her always following the same formula — despite her mixing up the topics each time. Maybe I should just get over myself.

  36. March 20, 2012 9:53 pm

    Haven’t read one of her books yet, but keep meaning too.

  37. March 20, 2012 10:45 pm

    Picoult’s books do raise some rather interesting points. It has been a while since I read anything by her.

  38. March 20, 2012 11:02 pm

    I’ve read all her books since My Sisters Keeper and enjoyed most. I am not thrilled with the wolf connection but I’ll likely read it at some point. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it.

  39. March 20, 2012 11:07 pm

    I cant’ wait!! I have it up in my “library”.
    I am on the loving side of the fan base for Jodi Picoult.
    by the way…did you get it signed?

  40. March 21, 2012 6:46 am

    I cant wait to get my hands on this book, I’m a huge fan of Jodi Picoult. Great review 🙂

  41. March 21, 2012 11:29 am

    I’m glad you enjoyed this book, Kathy. It touches on a very sensitive issue and one that I think is very interesting.

    It’s been a while since I read one of Picoult’s books. I used to read them pretty regularly but then I began to feel that, no matter the different subject matter, the books all started to sound the same. I expect this is partly because theoutline or framework of many of Picoult’s books are very similar. Many of her books ended nice and neat, all tied up with a pretty bow which grates on my nerves after a while.

    But the termination of life issues is quite interesting and one I’ve changed my mind about over the years. Piccoult extensively researches her topics and I always found the issues interesting and well presented. Your review has piqued my interest in this book, thank you :o)

  42. March 21, 2012 5:37 pm

    I haven’t read Picoult for awhile, but this one sounds really good!

  43. March 21, 2012 9:39 pm

    This sounds excellent. I’ll have to give it a read!

  44. March 22, 2012 9:27 pm

    Interesting to combine the end of life questions with wolves. I like the handful of Picoult novels I’ve read. Just can’t read them too close together!

  45. March 23, 2012 8:33 am

    I’ve only read a few of Picoult’s books and have liked them, but I wish I could love them. 🙂 I’m not so sure about the wolves theme.

  46. escapingjourney permalink
    April 12, 2012 2:45 pm

    Glad to see this is another good one by the author. It’s been forever since I’ve read one by her.

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