Lone Wolf, by Jody Picoult.
I LOVE Jody Picoult. She has the uncanny ability to delve into the stickiest of ethical dilemmas and to elicit sympathy on the part of the reader toward each side. I believe it is because she creates such beautifully complex characters, each of whom you want to win.
And in this book, she does it again.
The book revolves around a man who in order to fully study the habits of wolves, leaves his family to live in the wild among them, becoming part of a pack of wolves who take him in as one of their family. After he returns to his own, human family, he has difficulty fitting in and circumstances lead to the breaking up of his family. When he later suffers a severe head injury and is on life support, his son and daughter take up a legal battle to determine who will make the decision of whether or not to end life support.
In addition, throughout the book, the author weaves in various facts about wolves which make them appear more human than we are. Each tidbit is actually quite profound and provides a metaphor for what is happening to the characters in the story. I’m no naturalist, but I do find these facts very interesting. Each little factoid also serves to increase the suspense in the book with each further delay in the progression of the story.
This is yet another craftily woven story by Jody Picoult. You easily come to know and love her characters, you empathize with each side because each side is made valid, and you can’t help staying up late — no matter how late it is and no matter how important your work is the next day! — because you have to find out what happens (and there are a few major surprises!)
While some say Ms. Picoult has something of a formula, I say she uses what works — and it always does!