Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

          I assumed, based on the title, that this would be yet another book about werewolves. In that regard I was pleasantly surprised. This is a story about a man who studies wolves. He and his family put the fun in dysfunctional, but they are all one hundred percent human.

          Luke is fascinated with wolves. He spends his time learning everything he can about them, and teaching what he knows to others. He meets a girl; they marry and produce two children: Edward and Cara. Then Luke decides that the best way to really understand wolves is to become accepted as a member of a wolf pack. He starts out by living with the wolves at the shelter where he works. But at some point he decides he needs to go into the Canadian wilderness, leaving his wife and young children behind, and seek out a wild pack. Two years later he comes back out of the woods having succeeded in being accepted into a wolf pack. But he has also (unsurprisingly) succeeded in destroying his marriage and his relationship with his children.

          Fast forward a few years. Luke's ex wife has remarried. His son, Edward, moved out shortly after his eighteenth birthday and headed to Thailand where he has been teaching English. Cara, his seventeen year old daughter is living with him and has inherited his fascination with, if not his need to live with, wolves.

          On an icy winter night, Cara and her father are involved in a single car accident. Cara is badly injured. Luke is brain dead. Edward is called and gets on the first flight back to the states. And a battle erupts over what to do about Luke.

          The doctors hold out little hope that he will ever recover consciousness. Cara, still a minor, wants to keep him on life support in the hope the doctors are wrong. Edward, based on a conversation between his father and himself before the trip into the Canadian wilderness, believes his father would want to be taken off life support and his organs donated. The courts get involved, and no one is happy.

          This book spends most of its time exploring the concept of death. What is it? How should it be approached? Whose opinions matter when a loved one is in limbo between life and death? This is a very angst ridden story, and gets a big zero on the fun scale. But it is very thought provoking.


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