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VINE VOICEon 16 January 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Lone Wolf is the story of a family brought back together through a terrible accident. When Luke Warren is bringing his teenage daughter, Cara, home from a party, the two of them crash, leaving Cara with a broken shoulder and Luke in a coma. Luke's ex-wife, who has remarried and has a new young family, calls their eldest child, son Edward who has been abroad and estranged for six years and he returns home.

There are, as always with Picoult's novels, many strands running through the novel and the story is told from several characters' perspectives. Luke Warren is a man obsessed with wolves and the study of their lifestyle - to the extent that he left his family and lived wild with a wolf pack in the remote Canadian forests for two years.

It was a fascinating insight into the lives of wolves and the level of research is impressive alongside the detail of the court case and medical references. The parallels between wolf behaviour and human behaviour are interesting too.

I have long been a fan of Jodi Picoult and I wasn't disappointed in this book. The story hooks you in, wanting to know about Luke's experiences in the wild with the wolves; wanting to know why Edward argued with his father and left his family; and wanting to know what Cara is hiding about the car accident. Having the chapters told by various characters adds to the story's dimension - exploring different viewpoints and emotions.

A good read - well written, well researched and as ever with a satisfying ending.
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VINE VOICEon 26 January 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Its rare that I read a Jodi Picoult book that I don't enjoy but when I heard of the storyline, I did wonder whether I would enjoy reading so much about wolves. However the amount of research that was necessitated made for interesting reading and having these chapters narrated by Luke and hearing his voice throughout the book added an extra dimension. The book follows the usual JP formula but its one that seems to work.

Luke's estranged son, Edward, flies home from Thailand upon hearing from his mother Georgie about the accident involving his father and sister, Cara. Luke lies in a coma and Cara requires surgery for her injuries. Cara blames Edward for breaking up the family by running away 6 years previously and thus causing the subsequent divorce between Luke and Georgie. Georgie has now remarried and has a new family whereas Luke's family is Cara and the wolves that he looks after. As the story progresses you learn more about Luke and eventually the reason why Edward left so quickly. The antagonism that Cara feels towards Edward leads to a courtroom battle as who will have the right to become Luke's medical representative - Edward believes that his father wouldn't want to live whilst Cara is determined to keep her father alive at any cost. Cara came across as being quite immature in her reasoning and towards the end, we learn the truth of a secret she is hiding that is hinted at throughout the book.

I enjoyed reading this, it was interesting and I became engrossed in the story. It seems to have received a varied response by way of review but to my mind JP just writes a story so well and they are a pleasure to read.
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on 5 March 2012
As a big Jodi Picoult fan I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. I have read all of her other novels and enjoyed them (barring `Songs of The Humpback Whale' which I found to be a bit bland), so it was safe to say that I was anticipating an excellent read here.

Picoult definitely doesn't disappoint in this excellent story of a fractured family, hidden secrets and a horrific moral dilemma faced by an estranged brother and sister. I loved every word- the characterisation was excellent, settings believable and it really does make you think what you would do if you ever found yourself in a similar situation.

The book revolves around Cara and her father Luke, both injured in a car accident that unfortunately leaves Luke on a ventilator with a practically nil chance of waking- and even if he does, chances are he will be brain damaged. As Luke was a famous naturalist who has integrated himself into wild wolf packs, his estranged son questions whether his father would ever want to live such a different way of life. Cara meanwhile is determined to prove that any life at all, is at least worth living...

As the book unfolds, family secrets are brought to the fore which only adds further drama to the proceedings. Chapters are told from alternate characters perspectives which really adds a sense of tension to the story, as well as a degree of empathy and understanding as to what the family are going through.

I can concede other reviewer's reservations with this book however: first time readers may find her depth of detail and research slightly off-putting and indeed overwhelming at times, though I personally found it relevant to the plot; Picoult tells a narrative from Luke's perspective, in which the symbolism of the wolf-pack mirrors events occurring in his own family at the time. I found this to be an excellent device within the story with just enough level of detail around wolf packs to keep me interested, as well as educating me.

I have to admit that this book moves at a slightly slower pace than some of her earlier novels too, which other long time readers have highlighted. It is also more `clean cut' with its moral issue, in that suggestions right from the start of the story indicate the right decision to be made in the long term, though the journey in getting there is still a worthwhile narrative and (in my opinion) very worth a read.

I have deducted half a star merely because the supposed 'revelations' within the book were a little bit predictable. I suppose I expected a bit more twists and turns- this is a Jodi book after all! That is my only criticism of the novel however.

If you have not read a Picoult novel before then I would perhaps urge you to be a bit cautious in trying this one first- it is very different from some of her others. I would suggest starting with `Nineteen Minutes' or `Change of Heart' first and then move on to this one afterwards if you enjoy her style of writing. If you are a Picoult fan though, then you will enjoy it.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Jodi Picoult has decided to lift the bar with `Lone Wolf'. She offers her legions of loyal readers the most substantial, impressively educational and well-researched effort so far. There is often a cute canine in JP's novels but here we have literally packs, of wild and captive wolves, the largest members of the dog family.

The main moral drama/dilemma is broken up by passages, from his wolf book, written by the now comatose Luke; the divorced father of Cara and Edward. Luke was a well-known TV presenter, naturalist and wolf expert. His pages, in italic, are set around time he spent living and interacting with wolf packs. The moral storm continually rages around Luke and his apparently hopeless situation, but through his writings being granted the power of speech; for me, Luke is given more than his share of the dialogue. My heart sank each time I turned a page and found him carrying on, with explanations of wolf hierarchy, pack manners, behaviour and the complicated reasoning behind their untamed characteristics. If I wanted to learn more about wolves I wouldn't really be looking at a book of this kind. Clearly meant to be linked signposts along the way of the main story they served, for me anyway, to interrupt it. Along with this device, the rest of the cast each have their own name at the head of the chapters through which the story is recounted, in parts, rather than seamlessly narrated. Cara, Edward, Georgie (Luke's ex) inhabit Part 1, then in Part 2, happily for Jodi Picoult' s hugely successful but nevertheless standard recipe, Georgie's new husband, Joe, is the inevitable defence lawyer, plus Helen Bedd (!) the temporary guardian appointed by the court... Rather like a tennis ball, the reader is restlessly batted back and forth between this motley, constantly sparring crew.

I found it hard to like the three main protagonists. Luke came across as a man who spent too much time over-enthusiastically living, wallowing even, in the society of fierce wild animals; finding it a more worthy occupation than that of being a well rounded human being. At one point he set off for two years living away from civilisation, emerging to a scene as if from `The Village' at the roadside, of everyday life. He should perhaps never have married or taken on a family. Georgie, his ex-wife is a fragrant lady, now recovering from his uncaring treatment and the harsh break up of their family unit (pack). Daughter Cara, just shy of her majority, is, perhaps understandably, arrogant, stubborn, self centred, spoilt and rude. Her brother Edward has acted decisively in removing himself from the broken family set up that happened at the same time he came out; despite that he still seemed unreal, he is made to act oddly and become unbelievable. I still felt this cross way about them after more than two thirds of the book had gone by although of course I travelled hopefully - there surely would be greater depths to plumb. Tiny hints imply that there will be more to this story than is first apparent, at least relating to the circumstances of the accident, and the rift between Luke and Edward. These turn out to be the fireworks that briefly fizzle Lone Wolf into some kind of life.

Personally I found it to be rather tedious and overwritten. I kept measuring what was left to read and wishing it over. I know that although for me it was just too longwinded - for those who really love her writing the extra weight will surely be appreciated. Reading is subjective and we are all entitled to our opinions. Good or bad. In this case I would say that I have thoroughly read and fairly considered this book, chosen by me through vine, as I had enjoyed others by her before; but I cannot personally, other than 'luke warmly' recommend it...
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on 17 May 2014
Just finished this book and was really was very disappointed. I think that Jodi Picoult can be a really hit and miss with me. Because I loved some of her books I feel I always have to read the next one. I have given 2 stars because of the research that was done into the lives and habitat of wolves, and, when to turn off the life saving machine when someone is in a vegetative come.The story of the wolves bored me to death and whether to turn off the machine left me caring not very much as well.I think the problem was that none of the main characters were very interesting and probably the most interesting character was lying in a bed in the hospital in a coma!! Even though every 3rd chapter was reverting back to his life with the wolves you always knew that this man was as good as dead and for me this did not work. Cara got on my nerves, I could'nt figure Edward at all and the ex wife was too milk and watery!! I thought some of the reviews were great and these reviewers just liked the the analogy of the comparison between wolf packs and family. I did not. Just not good enough!
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on 5 April 2015
One of those books with different narrative voices, which I personally like if they are done well. This one worked in that sense.

I liked Luke's narrative - talking about wolves and how the pack worked, but I couldn't bear Cara's narrative. She was, apparently, nearly 18 - we are told this several times throughout the story so it must be correct. However, she came across as a 14 year old brat, and, having stated her opinion, she states it each time it is her "chapter" and sometimes during other character's chapters too. And it does wear you down - all that bleating and repeating ...

Then there was the point about Cara (at nearly 18) being too young to make decisions even though her brother Edward had made a pretty major decision at just 18 but that was OK. I was pretty annoyed at that, but then, Cara was irritating and acted in a fairly immature way so perhaps that's why they were treating her like a child? I found myself skimming the Cara chapters a bit - especially in the middle of the book when they don't seem to add anything at all to the story.

But, as I said, the Luke chapters are interesting, most of the other characters are OK. Overall, not a bad read, but not one I will read again.
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on 2 August 2014
Edward comes home (6 years after he left his family with minimal contact) after hearing of his father and sisters car crash. Dad is in a coma, his sister is recovering and they have to make some difficult decisions, the doctors don't have great news and the decision is whether to end Luke's (the father) life or leave him on life support. Edward wants to pull the plug and Cara wants to give her dad a fighting chance, what would you do?

Luke was an absent father and after taking time away from his family and life as we know it to live wild with wolves he now dedicates his life to taking care of and teaching wolves in captivity. The story flicks between Luke before the crash and his relationship and learning with the wolves and the family present day after the crash and their take on events. We see a family that has been torn apart trying to come to terms with what has happened, what they will do and how they can face the future when they haven't addressed the past.

I really liked this book, it is so very different from anything I have read. For me it split into two, the story of the wolves and how they live and that of a family trying to cope after a tragic event. I think some people may not like the book because of the amount dedicated to the wolves but I loved it and learning about them (I am also going to buy the book written about someone who actually did this) and maybe some of the medical terms but again I liked it. The story stirs up a lot of emotions especially if the reader has been in a position where they have lost someone like this. A great read, something different and as always for me Jodi has written a book that you might find hard to put down, 4/5 for me.
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on 1 March 2012
What immediately comes to your mind when you start reading a book and it has an absolutely killer first line? Do you instantly that this book is going to be good? Or do you ultimately set yourself up for disappointment?

I've loved Jodi Picoult's books for a good couple of years now, and although a couple of them have been a bit hit-and-miss, most of them have been brilliant. So I was looking forward to this book, and was seriously thinking about pre-ordering it, when my work went one better: I got an ARC of it, just sitting in the staff room ready for the taking. Of course, I had to finish the book I was reading at the time, but then the decision was made: I had to read this book before the other one or two (hundred) on my bookshelf waiting to be read.

From the killer opening line to the even better closing line and a few (almost) tears inbetween, I loved it. Once again, Ms Picoult has given us a hard hitting, emotional, driven book, which will certainly leave the reader thinking all the way through and even after finishing. I won't bore you with the blurb, as you have eyes, you can read that for yourself. But the main bulk of the story fits around wolves and the title Lone Wolf is also a book in the book. So a book, within a book, if you will. (Although not a book, within a book, within a book, within a book, within a book - you get the idea.) I discovered a lot of things I didn't know about wolves, which was very interesting.

Jodi has found her niche/formula and damn, does she stick to it. Although this hasn't worked in some books (The Tenth Circle to name one), it pretty much works with the majority of them. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character, with a few random people thrown in just to mess with your head. There are a few similarities between this and My Sister's Keeper, with one event happening almost exactly the way it happened in the latter.

As this has not been proof read either, there were a couple of incidences that bugged me - a character's 18th birthday keeps changing between coming up in 3 months, to coming up in 4 months. There is also the obligatory court case, which I've now come to expect! I can count on one hand how many books I've read of hers that don't feature a court case, but this one has a few shocks in store for readers and the characters.

One of the character's viewpoints/chapters (Luke) I liked, but at the same time, I didn't like and felt like something was missing. Maybe because this viewpoint is talking about past events, rather than present events, so it does come across as a disjointed viewpoint. But it is one of the more intriguing viewpoints, considering what is happening to Luke in the book and what the past events he is discussing. If you're like me, you'll be attempting to read between the lines to glean clues.

There's (as usual) a couple of plot points that will definitely have readers looking at themselves, their family and their friends in a different light. What would you hope your last words to someone would be? Mull that over the next over the next time you go to bed on an argument, the next time you walk away from someone, when you hang up the phone, or when you run away from your problems instead of facing them head on. Life is too short, as this book shows.

I'm now looking forward to the new book coming out in the UK in June and is co-written with her daughter Samantha. Two Jodi Picoult books in a year, we are honoured.
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on 8 April 2012
I absolutely loved this book. I have read most of Jodi Picoult's books and my favourites are Nineteen Minutes and Change of Heart. This book has just joined my favourites.

The research is impressive as per usual. I really cared about all the main characters although it took me a long while (almost to the end of the book) to "get" Edward. As you do with a really good book, I was transported to within the pages and felt like I was present as the story unfolded. The story stayed with me afterwards and I felt quite sad when I finished it.

JP has a knack of picking issues we can all identify with, giving it a twist and turning it into a story. Lately, I must admit to thinking that there has been a formulaic element to her books i.e. House Rules and Sing You Home but in Lone Wolf, I rediscovered the original JP that I first read and loved.

Whether you are a JP fan or not, I highly recommend that you read this book.
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on 23 February 2015
I loved the storyteller & Jodis wonderful new book, leaving time. So I'm working my way through her back catalogue when I'm holiday as they are, generally, easy readers. I enjoyed lone wolf, but no where near as much as her two latest novels. Her writing has progressed. I felt (again compared to the latest reads) that the ending was very very flat, almost as if she got bored with the plot.
Saying that a easy read for a lazy few days with a convincing plot line. Some questions left under answered but enjoyable non the less.
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