Pub. Date: 28th February 2012
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (UK) Atria/Emily Bestler Books (US)
Pages: 384 (UK) 432 (US)
Readership: Adult fiction
Luke Baxter used to be a famous naturalist known for spending two years in the Canadian wilderness living with a wolf pack. Now, he is lying in a hospital bed suffering from brain injury, caused by a car accident. He is almost certainly never going to recover. His two children, Edward and Cara, are torn. Edward believes that his father would want to be taken off life support. Cara, on the other hand, is desperately holding onto the belief that Luke will recover and so she decides to approach a pro-life lawyer to help her win the right to become her father’s legal guardian.
There’s probably many words you could use to sum up Jodi Picoult’s abundance of work but one that always pops into my head is comforting. Lone Wolf has the same feel as many of her other books. I knew what to expect and I wasn’t let down. However, it still manages to feel fresh and brilliantly crafted. I particularly enjoyed how Luke’s viewpoint was different to anything she’s ever done before. Because Luke cannot speak to the reader himself, Picoult instead uses his accounts of living and working with wolves, weaving them in with the storyline as appropriate, to tell his story.
Although I’ve enjoyed watching nature documentaries from time to time (such as Frozen Planet), I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever be that interested in wolf pack behaviour, but I actually found it fascinating. It is clear that Jodi Picoult has spent a lot of time conducting research, right down to the little details that perhaps an actual naturalist wouldn’t even have thought to investigate. But Lone Wolf is not just a novel with occasionally nature facts thrown in – the story is carefully crafted and the research slips in seamlessly.
I’m not going to talk too much about the actual characters in the book and the controversy surrounding the decision to terminate life, but that’s because, if you’ve read a Picoult novel before, you know that the journey’s going to be an emotional one, full of constant twists and turns. Lone Wolf is no exception to this rule. I wasn’t entirely sure what the outcome would be – would Luke have his life support switched off? – right until the end, but I thought that she handled the issue delicately. I was also unsure how I should feel about Luke: is he a determined man following his passion, or is he completely crazy for abandoning his family to go and live with wolves?
Lone Wolf is another gripping family drama from Jodi Picoult, keeping the reader thoroughly interested and on edge until the very end.
Thank you Hodder & Stoughton for providing this book for review!