Ack! I'm so behind in my posting! I've been reading up a storm, but have been working so much the last few weeks I haven't wanted to write or get a computer for non-work related things, so I'm behind on posting and commenting and hope to remedy that this week. I'd like to get a bit caught up before the readathon this weekend! I've already started making a pile of books for that day. I'm going to do something a little different this year. I'm going to stick to books that I own, and mainly books that have been on my shelves for a while and that I know might be hard for me to pick up at some point, but for some reason haven't been able to just let them go. Hopefully I'll end the day with some books to add to my stash that I'm going to take to Half-Price Books soon!
And on to the book! I know Jodi Picoult can be a little formulaic - multiple narrators, current hot topic, twist to the story, boom, done. Although her last few books haven't been as good as some of her others, I still like her and credit her for helping me get out of a reading slump when I was drowning in classics while working on my MA. (I LOVE the classics, but that was all I had read for a long time, in an academic setting, and needed a break!) So, I picked up Lone Wolf from the library and hoped it would have a bit more of a spark than the last few of her novels. And it did!
I think it helped that this wasn't quite as much of a ripped from the headlines type of story. It's centered around a man who is obsessed with studying wolves and actually leaves his family for two years to live with them in the wild. Yes, someone actually did this, but I don't feel like it got as much coverage as some of her other topics, so it didn't feel quite so overdone.
The strength of the book was showing the relationship between the father and daughter. Picoult seems to write these types of relationships really well. The parents in the story are divorced, and the the daughter chose to live with her father and her brother left for the other side of the world, while the mom creates a new family with her second husband. When the girl and her father are in a car accident that puts him a coma, the rest of the family is left trying to determine what to do and how to be a family again. This is where Picoult excels - showing family dynamics and creating believable characters. I quickly grew to care about them and became invested in the outcome, and could see elements from both sides arguments.
Another thing I enjoyed was the father's occupation. I love animals, and I've always been interested in people who learn to live with them (even if I think they're a little crazy in this case). I liked learning more about wolves and how they interact with each other, and how they interact when a human tries to become one of them. Picoult always does extensive research and it shows.
However, I was a little annoyed that she still felt compelled to through in a "shocking" twist that could be seen a mile away. That detracted from the story a bit, because I had to keep reminding myself that the characters didn't know that yet, and that's why they were being a bit stupid in places. Also, yet again a close family member is part of the legal team in the story, which might have been allowed in this case, but still just seemed annoying - why do the characters always have personal relationships with the lawyers?
Overall, I did enjoy reading this story. It was engaging and did keep me interested to the end. It's a nice, quick read and I'm hoping it's a a sign that Picoult will have an upswing on her next couple of books.