Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

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RATING: 3.5/5

BLURB: “When Luke Baxter 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 daughter’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?”

REVIEW: Continuing on my sudden obsession with Jodi Picoult’s novels (thanks to a very close friend of mine), I began ‘Lone Wolf’ during a train journey yesterday and finished it on my return today – once again, I simply could not put it down. The book deals with a dilemma that all of us hope we never have to face – the choice between life and death for someone we love. Cara and her father Luke live on a reserve for wolves that has seen Luke achieve fame and huge scientific advancement in the understanding of wolves and pack behaviour; the two are very close, and Cara sought refuge with Luke after his divorce from her mother and her mother’s subsequent remarriage. Cara’s older brother, however, is in Thailand at the start of the novel, teaching English as he has been for the past six years after an argument that everyone assumes was based upon Luke’s reaction to Edward’s homosexuality. When Cara and Luke are involved in a dramatic car accident, however, Edward returns home and, as Cara is a minor and Luke never remarried, he is the one made responsible for deciding whether Luke should remain attached to the ventilator machine that is keeping him alive while he is in a coma, or whether to turn the ventilators off and end Luke’s life completely. While Edward believes that letting his father die would be the most merciful solution, Cara fights this with all her might, and this is where the reader begins to be torn between the two siblings. The novel forces us, like many Picoult novels do, to confront an uncomfortable and frightening situation, to put ourselves in a position that we hope never to be in, and experience the same conflict as they characters in the novel. It is a dilemma that makes the book truly heartbreaking, and the involvement of the wolves – who are closely attached to Luke – makes the novel all the more emotional for any animal lovers like myself. Although I enjoyed this novel slightly less than I did ‘Nineteen Minutes’, which I found to be far more intense, I cannot overstate how brilliant this novel was, how heartbreaking it was, and how intelligently it makes you think.

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