Title: Lone Wolf
Author: Jodi Picoult
First Published: Feb 2012 (hardback) / Oct 2012 (paperback)
No .of pages: 496
Synopsis (from Amazon):
When Luke Warren is involved in a car accident which leaves him in a coma, his family are gathered together against the odds; they face an impossible dilemma.
His daughter Cara is praying for a miracle: she will fight everything and everyone to save her father’s life.
His son Edward can’t imagine that a man who once ran with wolves could ever be happy with a different life.
But Edward hasn’t spoken to Luke for six years. How can he dare to speak on his father’s behalf?
Somehow, they must choose:
Do they keep Luke alive?
Or do they let him go?
This wasn’t my favourite Picoult book and at times I found it a bit of a struggle to continue reading, however, towards the end, the pace picked up and overall, I’m glad I persevered. This book asks those age old questions about life and death and how we cope. We are also given a new perspective from that of the wolf and how they, as a pack, deal with very similar situations.
Throughout the book, Luke is in a coma. We follow his story through a series of flashbacks where we learn of his experiences out in the wild, living with the wolves and his struggle to reintegrate himself back into his family. His time with the wolves and the journey he takes to be accepted by the pack are crazy but touching at the same time. Luke (and in turn, the reader) is taught a great many lessons from these wild animals and their way of life. This aspect of the book, sometimes felt at odds to the on-going story, but overall was a fantastic way of giving the man in the coma his own voice.
The remainder of the book is written from the conflicting views of his two children, his ex-wife and her new husband, and a court appointed guardian. Edward doesn’t want to see his father suffer any longer and wants to exercise his father’s wish to be an organ donor. Cara wants her father to be given the chance to pull through and perhaps recover from his injuries. Georgia is pulled back into the life she left a long time ago and is stuck between her two warring children.
I suppose my own personal preferences are quite obvious as, whilst I sympathised with Cara, I thought Edward was in the right. However, I do appreciate that depending on the reader, this will change. Picoult has written the book in such a way that both sides of the story are given equal viewing and she never leans one way or another. This gives the reader the chance to make up their own mind.
Picoult is a master at making us ask ourselves those difficult questions. Which way would you turn? How would you react in this situation? And at the same time, she writes beautifully poignant stories that tie you to the characters and ensure you stay with them every step of the way.