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Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf

This book by Jodie Picout is an emotional drama of love and guilt set in a family faced with the dilemma of a father and ex-husband who lies in a coma and is kept artificially alive.  This man has lived an outdoor life dedicated to the study of wolves.  The story revolves round whether to keep him alive or allow him to die.  His ex-wife, estranged son and the daughter who lives with him all have conflicting opinions and family secrets are gradually revealed.

This book aroused much discussion both about the story and the dilemma around which the story revolved, ie the keeping of comatose patients alive.  There was appreciation of the way each chapter was based on one of the characters.  The portrayal of Cara was felt to be typical of teenagers and, except perhaps for the mother, they were thought to be clear and pictorial.  The father's obsession with wolves made him seem selfish much of the time.  Wolf life details some found to be very skippable and Cara's lawyer unnecessarily weird.  The book was felt to be another of Jodi Picoult's books written with a topical theme but not quite having the usual surprise at the end and therefore not quite one of her usual stories.  Most people enjoyed the book, always wanting to know what was going to happen.  One member, on rereading the book, found many nuances coming to light which were missed before.  However, one member found the father misogynistic, selfish, with no sympathy for others and the book itself awful and long.

The book led to lively discussion on the topic of medical preservation of life, the dilemma with which some families are faced and the harvesting of body parts and, perhaps strangely, sexual orientation.

The book left the reader with much to think about. 

Review by Ruth Westley