Every year, at around this time, Jodi Picoult’s fans anxiously await her new novel. Most of the time, Picoult’s novels are “ripped from the headlines”. In the past, she’s taken on everything from gay rights to a school massacre to religious freedom. In Lone Wolf, she asks the questions none of us ever really are fully prepared to answer if it would happen to someone in our family. Presented with a traumatic brain injury, when does life stop? Does life on a ventilator, with a slim-to-none chance of regaining consciousness, constitute a life worth continuing?
Since the beginning, Picoult has not strayed from her style…various narrators, all involved in the story, typed in different fonts, with different opinions. Because of this, Jodi’s books are usually extremely well-rounded, with all sides of an issue presented. However, in this case, the fact that the “main character”, if you will, is in a comatose state, prevents him from narrating what is happening in the present. Luke is involved in a car crash with his daughter, Cara, who is also majorly injured. Cara decided to live with Luke after he divorced her mom, Georgie. As much as Georgie tried living with someone like Luke, she found it impossible. You see, Luke was fascinated with wolves, even going so far as to disappear from his family for awhile to infiltrate their packs. Luke and Georgie’s son, Edward, escaped to Thailand after a fight with Luke. When he gets the call that his dad was in a car accident, he rushes home to try to do things “right” by his dad and Cara.
Unfortunately, Edward and Cara have differing opinions about what they should do about Luke’s care. Of course, this being a Picoult novel, it goes to trial and there is an emotional ending. When I said before that Luke is not involved in the narration in present day, that doesn’t mean he does not narrate at all. Because of this narration, the reader is hardpressed not to come to the conclusion of what Luke would want his kids to do.
Almost 20 books later, Picoult is still the master of making the reader think. It’s almost impossible to come away from one of her books not having learned something about yourself. While not my favorite Picoult, Lone Wolf is still tremendously worthwhile to read.
This review can also be found on www.bookloons.com.