Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

‘Another Jodi Picoult’, I can hear some of you groaning πŸ™‚

Yes, another one, and no more for a while, I suspect, because I think I have finally read all of hers so far.

Luke Warren and his 17 year old daughter Cara have been in a terrible car crash. Cara has Β a horrible shoulder injury and Luke is in a coma. Cara wakes up to her mother Georgie(Luke’s ex wife) beside her and no sign of her dad. Georgie has already called Edward, their son, from Thailand. Luke is being given very slim chances of recovery by the doctors.

Edward had fled to Thailand after a disagreement with his dad, Luke. He has not been in contact with his sister or his father ever since. He is back for the first time after he left.

Luke is a wolf researcher, who looks after and lives with the captive wolves in the reserve. Cara, his daughter, lives with him since her mother had twins, and she felt more comfortable with her dad’s. Cara also holds a grudge against her older brother Edward for leaving the family and going away to Thailand. She blames her parents separating and divorcing on her brother’s departure. In her mind, none of this would have happened if Edward had not left.

Edward is Luke’s next of kin, since Cara is three months away from turning eighteen. Given that Luke is in a coma, with the doctor’s prognosis of little chance of him surviving and leading a normal life, Edward is asked to make the decision whether or not to pull the plug. Edward decides that his father would not want to have a vegetative exsitence, while Cara strongly disagrees. Edward feels, that a man like his dad, who was happiest with the wolves, happiest being outdoors, wouldn’t want to live on a machine. Cara, on the other hand Β wants to keep her father alive, and believes that anything is possible. She believes that her father might recover, and that Edward is in a hurry to end his father’s life. She believes that her brother cannot possibly understand her father better than her after being away for six years, and having had no communication with him, in those years away.

They end up in court fighting to get appointed the next of kin for Luke. In true Jodi Picoult style, there are many threads running and a difficult decision to make. Luke, as he is perceived by the people whose lives he touched, is revealed. Cara, his daughter who idolized him. Georgie, his ex-wife, who found happiness with her now husband Joe. Edward, who has the biggest issues with his dad. Will Edward be unbiased in his decision? Can Cara make unbiased decisions for that matter? Can anybody be truly unbiased? And who would truly understand what Luke would have wanted.

The story of Luke’s living with the wolves in the wild, carries on as a parallel thread. That gives us a perspective of Luke’s life and motivations. Here is a man who lives a life which most of us cannot even begin to imagine. He went to live in the wild, becoming one of the wolves, part of the pack, eating raw meat, living like a wolf in the true sense. He seems to be a person far more at home with his wolf family than his human family. The expectations from his human family seems far more complex to him. He almost seems to have forgotten to live a human life.

He had been a Β hero, appearing on TV, his wolves being his first priority, but like everybody else, a human, with his own flaws and problems.For his wife and son, they seem to come second to his wolves. For his daughter, he was a true hero – nothing anybody said,or believed, could detract from that, for her.

I think this is what I like about Picoult – all her characters are real, in the sense that every one of them have flaws, have deep secrets, and face tough moral dilemmas(although far tougher and complex ones that the rest of us might face).

The amount of research Picoult must have done for this book, is mind boggling. The details that she recounts, are amazing! In her foreword, she mentions that she realized that there is a person, Shaun Ellis, who actually lives among wolves. And he has written a memoir ‘The Man who lives with Wolves’. I think I will definitely be reading this book.

It is a beautiful story. Picoult adds her ingredients of moral dilemmas, which are difficult to work with, and blends it with emotions, perceptions, and lives of all her characters to make it a fascinating read. Another book which stays with you. Making you wonder, what one would do if faced with such a situation – having to decide when to let a loved one go.

27 thoughts on “Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

  1. Sounds like an interesting book Smitha.. usually I wonder the depth of knowledge one must have to churn out a story with real characters with the facts they know.. Truly wonderful.

    I think I can give a shot at this novel πŸ™‚

    • I agree Pixie…about being scared of her books…I started reading her after Smitha started writing so much about her books….each of her books are really well researched and they all make me very very sad..and yet I go back and pick them up..go ahead and pick up any of them…you will like them for sure…

      @smitha: errr..sorry for butting into the conversation πŸ™‚

    • @ Pixie: I was scared of reading Jodi PIcoult’s books too. I had some of them on my bookshelf for a couple of years, before I finally decided to read one.
      Recently, I read my first book of hers – Salem Falls. I didn’t like it as much as I had expected to, but I loved her writing style nonetheless. She does bring you face to face with several moral dilemmas that you might not have thought of otherwise, but I would say her books are indeed worth a read for the questions she raises and the way she brings out the nuances of her characters.

      I read somewhere that Salem Falls is not as taxing on the brain as other Jodi PIcoult books. Maybe you could start with that?

    • I’m going to butt into this conversation too… Pixie, I started with My Sister’s Keeper and that got me hooked on to Jodi Picoult. Even though it’s a draining book, I’d highly recommend starting with it as I reckon it’s one of her very best! Apart from that, you might want to consider Salem Falls, Perfect Match, Picture Perfect or Nineteen minutes as other books to start off with. I love most of her books except maybe Tenth Circle and Change of Heart.

      • wow! Thank you! πŸ™‚
        All of you R’s mom, Girl Next Door and Psych Babbler! I will get myself a book the next time I go to the library! πŸ™‚ Thank you all so much πŸ™‚

  2. Lovely review, as usual, Smitha. πŸ™‚ This book sounds very intriguing. I am definitely going to pick this one up. The premise sounds very interesting, and I have a feeling I will like this one.

    Give it a try. And tell me what you think of it πŸ™‚

    You must have read Jodi Picoult’s Song of the Humpback Whale. I felt that this story has some similarities with that one – particularly the male character into research and having better ties with the subject he researches than with his family. What say?

    Just when I think I have read it all – I haven’t read this one. Wonder if it is published in the UK by another name – coz it isn’t coming up on my library site 😦

    Also, her book Mercy is based on a similar theme, right? Mercy killing.
    It’s different, in the sense that Luke is in no position to express what he wants. And who would be the person to decide if Luke would want to live on in his vegetative life or not? But now, I feel like reading Mercy again πŸ™‚

    One question – After Salem Falls, which Jodi Picoult would you recommend next? I have her Tenth Circle, Mercy, and Songs of the Humpback Whale with me.

    Go with either Mercy or Tenth Circle.Can’t say about humpback whale, as I haven’t read it.

  3. PS: In your review, you say: Edward feels, that a man like his dad, who was happiest with the wolves, happiest being outdoors, would want to live on a machine.

    Shouldn’t it be: ‘wouldn’t want to live on a machine’?

  4. Sorry for hogging your comment space, but I have to ask you this. Have you read Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes? I read that some time ago, and LOVED it. Now I am reading another book by the same author – A Year In The World – and LOVING it. Her writing is just so charming! Please do try and get hold of these books if you haven’t read them already. Highly recommended. Loving travel as much as you do, I am so sure you will love both these books.

    Also, have you read these:

    1. The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society
    2. 84, Charing Cross Road
    3. A Year In Provence

  5. I had typed out a comment which disappeared.. Wp is not allowing me to post with my blogger id and is taking my gravatar id.. havent read any jodi picoult books till now.. the living with the wolf thingie does seem interesting though!

  6. About a man who lives with the wolves? And then the whole drama of pulling the plug…
    Whoa…looks like there’s some thought put into a complicated storyline like that πŸ™‚

  7. I don’t know why I run away from her books? πŸ™„ I can read books narrating gruesome murders, evil psychopaths and what not…but when it comes to her books many a times I have picked them up from the library shelf only to leave it behind. I think I am pretty scared to read stuffs that might damage my mental peace πŸ˜₯

    Maybe after a year or twi I might try to read her πŸ™‚

  8. So you’ve now read all her books? Apart from Songs of a humpback whale…that was her first one. I have a whole shelf on my bookcase dedicated to her books! πŸ˜€ I think the only ones I didn’t particularly like were Tenth Circle and Change of Heart. I must admit, Mercy was a bit so-so for me too because of the whole affair thing.

    • I haven’t bought any of her books – because of my nomadic lifestyle. I rely on the library. But that also means that I don’t get all the books I want right away πŸ™‚

      Tenth Circle – yes, it was a bit sticky, wasn’t it? I mean, not exactly her best.

      Change of heart was a little unbelievable, wasn’t it?

      Not all her books are totally realistic or believable, but when you read it, you get swept along by the force of the situations that she creates, don’t you? I think, that’s what I like about her books πŸ™‚

  9. Hmm, I just realised I have read one book by her – My Sister’s Keeper and was very disturbed by the way the story unfolded. The only other JP book available in my library here is The 10th circle and somehow did not feel v. appealing. The comments here just reaffirmed my decision not to go ahead with it.

  10. I’ve got few more books to read from Jodi Picoult thanks to your review :). I didnt read the review but will let you know about it once I get the book and read it. I found the Songs of the humpback whale boring to start and then just kept it aside. I will look for it again. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Just picked up Songs of the Humpback whale – my first book of hers – and its really good so far. Thanks to you, I heard of this author and was intrigued seeing so many reviews of her on your blog πŸ™‚

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