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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Wolf" Book Is Still Vintage Picoult

(Images from Barnes & Noble)

It's no secret that I love Jodi Picoult.  I mean, it says right on my left sidebar that she's one of my very favorite authors.  And it's true.  Her books speak to me—they don't just keep me entertained, they also force me to consider polarizing issues from all sides.  They make me think.  Still, when I spied the hardcover version of Lone Wolf (see below), I hesitated.  Wolves?  The plot summary sounded Picoult-like, but I just wasn't sure.  I mean I like animals and all, I just don't always enjoy reading whole books about them.  So, I stalled on this one for most of 2012.  Then, one day, I was in a Picoult kind of mood and I decided to give Lone Wolf a shot.  And, guess what?  While the plot does sort of revolve around wolves, the novel is really about how tragedy affects a family.  In other words: it's vintage Picoult. 

The story goes a little something like this:  When Luke Warren—a wolf expert known for his unorthodox ways of studying the animals—is severely injured in a car accident, it throws his already-fractured family into a tailspin.  His ex-wife, Georgie Ng, left him several years ago when she realized she would never mean as much to Luke as his beloved wolves.  Edward, Luke's 24-year-old son, had it out with his dad six years ago and hasn't seen the man since.  Seventeen-year-old Cara knows Luke's not the most traditional of fathers, but she loves him fiercely and can't bear to see the most alive man she knows in a coma.  When it comes to a decision of whether or not to take Luke off life support, each member of the family has a different idea.  Ultimately, it's up to his children, who disagree vehemently on what their father would have wanted.  As they duke it all out in the hospital and in court, Edward, Cara and Georgie reflect on the enigma who is Luke Warren.  Which of them knows him best?  Did he really care about any of them?  And, most importantly, who's the most qualified to decide Luke Warren's fate for him?  

Will the fight draw the broken family together again or tear them apart forever?

I know some readers have tired of Picoult's story "formula," but, like I said, it works for me.  It is, in fact, the thing I like most about reading her.  Picoult always forces me to empathize, to see things from other people's perspectives, to open my mind and heart while considering how different issues affect different people.  Both character- and plot-driven, her books always move at a swift pace, remaining tense and suspenseful until the very end.  Lone Wolf is no exception.  It's not my favorite Picoult book ever, but it still provided vivid reminders of why I love this author so much.  She's just that good.     

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other Picoult books, especially Handle With Care)

Grade:  B

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  R for strong language, sexual content, animal violence/gore, and depictions of underage drinking/partying

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Lone Wolf from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.  
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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
Swimming in a Sea of Stars by Julie Wright

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myer



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