"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

At some point I think I lost my objectivity to Jodi Picoult's books. My starry-eyed adoration for everything she sets her pen to has most likely rendered me less helpful as a reviewer than someone who is experiencing her brilliance for the first time. I say the same things every time I read one of her books. I love her research and imagination. I love the imagery and irony she creates. Perhaps most of all, I love the education I get on subject matters I have rarely thought to contemplate. Besides the obvious moral, ethical, and often legal dilemmas Picoult's characters face, I have had the opportunity, as a devoted fan, to learn more about whale songs, bread baking, search and rescue, and wolf behavior-to name only a few. I love that she can completely distract me from all else in life while simultaneously forcing me to think critically about what I would do in the circumstances the characters face. There is no shortage of dinner table debate and discussion when I am in the midst of a Picoult-induced haze. 

A new resident of Wyoming, I found Lone Wolf particularly interesting. The wolves of Yellowstone, and some of the difficulties they have presented and been presented with, are briefly mentioned. I am fascinated and impressed by the elements of pack behavior Picoult introduces. And of course, the meat of the story... Questions about whether to prolong life or not are always difficult ones. How do we really know another's mind? We often make decisions for one another based on what we would want for ourselves. Not on purpose, of course, but we naturally tend to think that what we would want would surely be what our partner, parents, or friends would also want. Another point scored for having an advanced directive. What sometimes seems morbid may ultimately become a gift to the person left to make medical decisions they do not feel capable of making properly. Beyond the question of prolonging life or not, Picoult invites readers to consider what constitutes a life, a family, a father. 

I loved the final chapter in Lone Wolf. Just when you think it's over, Picoult leaves readers with one last 'what if' that lingers long past the closing author's note. 

Thank you, Jodi Picoult, for yet another well-crafted, astonishingly absorbing tale of love, loss, and transformation. 

You will find an official plot line description at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13547188-lone-wolf?from_search=true.

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