Ever since I discovered Jodi Picoult by picking up “My Sister’s Keeper” years ago, I find myself looking forward to March of every year, because Picoult releases a new novel like clockwork. I always preorder the book from amazon.com, often when it first shows up on the website, because I do not want to miss it. The thing I love the most about Picoult’s writing is that she has multiple narrators, so that we can see the story from more than one character’s point of view.
“Lone Wolf” was told in the voices of Luke Warren, his children Cara and Edward, his ex-wife and children’s mother, Georgie, and later on, Jodi throws in the voice of two other characters – Joe, Georgie’s present husband, and Helen, the court-appointed guardian for Luke (who cannot speak for himself due to a traumatic brain injury sustained in a car accident and the fact that he is in a coma – he narrates his part of the story in italics and I think, from somewhere in the great beyond, telling us his memories of living in the Canadian wilderness trying to infiltrate a wolf pack. Luke’s narrating is in part comparing life in a wolf pack to family relationships back in civilization.
Luke and his 17 year old daughter Cara were in a horrific car accident at the beginning of the story. Somehow, with a shattered shoulder, Cara manages to get them both out before the car explodes. At the hospital, Luke is put on life support without any hope of regaining consciousness. Georgie calls Edward (who is gay but that isn’t a big thing in the book – he’s not dating anyone during the events in the book – it is just a part of who he is like his eye color or another physical characteristic. It is something for whichI applaud Jodi Picoult. Not only does she have a gay son herself, but she understands and accepts it as who he is. She creates characters accordingly) who had been overseas for the last seven years due to a falling out with his father. Edward comes home as quickly as he can. Luke’s driver license shows that he is an organ donor, so after speaking with the doctors and nurses, Edward wants to turn off the ventilator and donate Luke’s organs. Cara, on the other hand, wants to hold out for a miracle, hoping against hope that her father will wake up and make a full recovery, despite what the doctors are saying.
I think Cara is the least likable of all of Jodi Picoult’s characters, in this book and others combined. She will say anything to get her way, regardless of whether or not it is true. I do sympathize with her a little in that she is a young girl who is desperate for her father to recover, but that went out the window with a very loud crash the more I read of the book. She’s very immature, regardless of the responsibilities she shouldered while living with her father. I liked Edward much better – he’s the one trying to do what is right for everybody in his family. Cara, it seems, is only trying to do what is right for Cara. She does not seem to care that the odds of her father being even half of the man he was before the accident IF he woke up are slim to none. If I had to say why she wants her father alive, I’d say it is because she does not want to go back to living with her mother.
There are some twists to the story to keep it interesting, which works well against the story itself. I loved this book because it got me to thinking about wolves, and not in the terms I usually think of them (which is, of course, the werewolf kind). It was a bit refreshing to learn about the life of a wolf, and what the roles are in a pack, and how they function as a whole. The story as a whole gave me a lot to think about, and it left me wanting to know more about wolves. On the last page of the book, Picoult recommends another book by a real life (and “thankfully” healthy) Luke Warren, The Man Who Lives with Wolves by Shaun Ellis. I cannot wait to check it out.