Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

 

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I’M SO SAAAAAAAD.

So it’s 1987, and 14-year old June is a bit of a weird girl. She’s into medeival times, falconry, and the arts. She doesn’t quite fit in at school and doesn’t really have friends. Even her own sister, Greta*, doesn’t get her. The only person who ever really understood June is Finn, her uncle. But when he dies of AIDS, June’s left on her own. June’s family seems more angry about Finn’s death than sad. One day June gets a mysterious package in the mail. Inside are Finn’s favorite teapot and a note from Toby – Finn’s boyfriend that she never knew existed.  She agrees to meet with him, and together they deal with the loss of the most important person in their lives while forming a new bond of their own.

There are so many painful things in this book. In the beginning, it hurt to see how everyone back in the 80’s reacted to AIDS – how little they knew, and how cruel they were to people diagnosed with it. The attitude that June’s family had towards Toby – that he killed her uncle – was just terrible. And throughout the rest of the book… well, obviously it’s super depressing to be reading about a girl and her uncle’s boyfriend grieving for the same person, and helping each other to get through it.

The glimpses into Finn and Toby’s relationship were really touching and sweet, and I love that June got to know Toby. I loved that June was kind of a strange girl, and even when she annoyed me at times for once I was able to remember that she’s only 14 and cut her some slack. There’s one plot thing that kind of bothered me, but it’s a bit spoiler-y, so highlight to read: Did the author really need to make June’s affection for Finn romantic? Because I feel like the entire story would’ve worked the same if she had just been really close with her uncle, and it wouldn’t have had that weird creep factor to it… Not a big deal overall, but it seemed unnecessary.   End spoiler-y thing.

Basically, read this. It’s not a happy ride by any means, but it’s a touching, poignant, beautiful ride nonetheless.

Sarah Says: 4 stars

 

 

*Greta was a total bitch. It needed to be said.

 

 

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20 comments

  1. I was drawn in by the title alone but then your review makes it sound really interesting; sad and it would probably make me angry at people, but I hope I get to read it some day.

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    1. It is really sad and made me angry at humanity in general. But then I start to feel like angry, because thank goodness people don’t treat people with AIDS that horribly anymore. Well, at least most people don’t. I’m sure there’s still some jerks out there. But this was so GOOD! Read it practically in one day.

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  2. This was one of my favorite books last year. I loved it and it was my ‘you should read this right now’ book. Also, I’ve noticed that the cover tended to cause a love or hate reaction….so love it or hate it?

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    1. I’m actually indifferent towards the cover! I think it’s eye-catching and I get the imagery… but maybe it’s a bit on the boring side too? I think I like the paperback cover a little more, the simplicity of it is nicer and actually a little bolder.

      What about you, love or hate the cover?

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  3. I really loved this one too, broke my heart. But I am completely with you on the spoilery bit you mentioned. That was my only complaint about the book. It just seemed unnescessary.

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    1. You HAVE to read it Alley! It’s so good. And surprisingly, there were only a little bit of tears for me near the end… but I was just kind of sad the whole time while reading it. Good thing it only took me like a day and a half to get through.

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    1. It’s so true! I think that’s what makes it seem like such an original story, because AIDS in the 80’s isn’t really a hot topic in the book world. Or the movie world, really… the only thing I can think of is that movie Gia w/ Angelina Jolie in it. Obvs this book was WAY better.

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  4. I skimmed because I don’t want to see spoilery things 😉 I totally have to read this don’t I? Yup.

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  5. Aw, I didn’t think Greta was a total bitch! I liked it how the book slowly brought her and June back to being close(ish). I really loved the whole theme of siblings forgetting to stay close with each other, and the regrets that brought them.

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    1. I’m glad that they made up in the end, but she was just SO MEAN throughout the whole book. And not just mean, but kind of scary and calculating about it too. I did feel a BIT bad for her later on, when she vented about all the pressure their mom put on her.

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