Lone Wolf (Picoult novel)

Lone Wolf

First edition hardcover
Author Jodi Picoult
Publisher Atria Books
Publication date
February 28, 2012
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 421
ISBN 978-1-4391-0274-9

Lone Wolf is a 2012 New York Times Bestselling novel by American author Jodi Picoult.[1] The book was released on February 28, 2012 through Atria Books and centers around a man returning to his childhood home after a terrible accident.[2]


Edward Warren has been living in Thailand for nearly 6 years when he receives a frantic phone call: His estranged family have been injured in a car accident in NH. Warren's father is comatose and his sister, Cara, is also injured.

Cara still holds a grudge against Edward, since his departure led to their parents’ divorce. In the wreckage of the ruined marriage, she’s lived with her father – an animal conservationist who became famous after living with a gray wolf pack in the Canadian wild. It is almost impossible for her to reconcile the broken man in the hospital bed with her vibrant, dynamic father.


Picoult first started developing the novel in the early 2000s after conversing with a neurologist about his patients that were in vegetative states.[3] She chose to bring in elements of wolves after dreaming about them and wondering what a person would be like that lived with the wolves rather than studying them from afar.[4] She researched the behavior of gray wolves with the help of Shaun Ellis, founder and head of Wolf Pack Management at Combe Martin Wildlife Park.[5]


Critical reception for Lone Wolf has been mostly positive,[6][7] with USA Today rating the book three out of four stars.[8] ABC and AZ Central also gave positive reviews, with AZ Central writing that although parts of the family drama were "predictable", "Picoult's depiction of Luke's other families, the packs of wolves he has known and loved" saved the book.[9][10]

In comparison Barbara King, a reviewer for the Washington Post, criticized the book as lacking the balance of Picoult's earlier work.[11] King further criticized the book in a post for NPR, stating that the portrayal of the wolves was inaccurate and misinformed the reader.[12] The book was also criticized on similar grounds by representatives of the IWC (International Wolf Center). The IWC's chief wolf educator, Cornelia Hutt, stated the following:

In an effort to debunk the myths about the wolf as 'the beast of waste and desolation,' Picoult has created an equally unscientific, inaccurate and ultimately harmful portrayal of wolves and wolf packs.

L. David Mech, the IWC's founder and an internationally recognized wolf expert, reviewed the book, and described it as 'outrageous' and 'unbelievable'. He further leveled specific criticisms to Picoult's portrayal of wolves as wanting to "study" humans, how wolves supposedly allocate different body parts of a kill to different pack members, how they can tell the age of a prey animal by smelling its teeth,[13] and how most of Picoult's information came from Shaun Ellis, whom he described as "neither a scientist nor an expert on the natural behavior of wolves."[12]


  1. Cowles, Gregory. "Best Sellers March 18, 2012". New York Times. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  2. "Review: Lone Wolf". School Library Journal. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  3. "Jodi Picoult learns to take the alpha role". Chicago Tribune. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  4. "Jodi Picoult Turns Tough Topics Into Best-Sellers". NPR. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  5. "A conversation with Jodi about Lone Wolf". jodipicoult.com.
  6. "Fiction Review: Lone Wolf". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  7. "Review: Lone Wolf". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  8. "Jodi Picoult's 'Lone Wolf' leads weekend book picks". USA Today. 3 March 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  9. "Gillian's review: Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult". ABC. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  10. "'Lone Wolf' breaks from Picoult pack". AZ Central. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  11. King, Barbara J. (19 March 2012). "Book World: "Lone Wolf," by Jodi Picoult". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  12. 1 2 "Why Are Wolf Scientists Howling At Jodi Picoult?". NPR. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  13. Tom Myrick. International Wolf Center Nominates Picoult's Lone Wolf for Scat Award. IWC Scat Awards. (March 8, 2012).
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