by Carol Rifka Brunt
The Dial Press
Pub. Date: June 19, 2012
Book received from: Publisher
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ 1980s Fiction
Cover: Perfect for the story; I really love this cover.
Characters: Perfectly written and very likable; Every character is given equal depth
Worth the read? Absolutely- This is a debut novel not to be missed.
“I felt that I had proof that not all days are the same length, not all time has the same weight. Proof that there are worlds and worlds and worlds on top of worlds, if you want them to be there.”
It is 1987, and fourteen-year-old June is reeling from the loss of her Uncle Finn to AIDS, a disease that is still very much misunderstood. As June discovers more about the life that Finn kept hidden from her, she is also faced with admitting just how much she loved him- even if that love may have been seen as unacceptable by some. Throughout the story, June becomes entwined in the life of Toby, Finn’s partner, in ways she never thought possible. As they lean on each other to survive the loss of the mysterious Finn, they realize that the pieces are more valuable than the whole picture.
Tell the Wolves I’m Gone is an accomplishment in exploring the realm of the capability of love. It is also a wonderful exploration that the impact of misinformation can have on individual lives. Brunt deals with the issues surrounding the unfolding AIDS epidemic masterfully. She not only shows the impact it had on the lives of those dealing with the disease, but the impact on society as well.
June is a perfect narrator for this story, as she grows with the issues at hand. She is an introspective character who lives largely in her own thoughts. Her world revolved so much around Finn that he became a part of her identity that she struggles to integrate into her new reality without him. This is also a story that is much better understood and told through the eyes of a girl who has not been completely jaded by life. As she explore the depth of her love of her uncle, she learns more about herself and those around her. She truly comes of age as the story progresses.
The supporting characters are all strong in their own right, and serve a purpose individually. Toby is perhaps the most important character besides June to the story and the understanding of who Finn really was. Although it is difficult to like June’s sister, Greta through much of the story, she becomes a pivotal character in the evolution of June. Even a painting that Finn left behind becomes a character in itself, as its defacing reflects and follows the slow destruction of the family.
Brunt gives a moving story that should not be missed. There is so much going on within the pages of Tell the Wolves I’m Home that I cannot possibly explain just how fantastic it is without giving away far too much. It is beautifully written, and impossible to ignore. While reading, it is difficult to believe that this is a debut novel, and not one of a prolific writer. It is going to be interesting to see where Brunt goes from here, but I am sure to follow.
‘Tell the Wolves I’m Home’ can be purchased at Amazon.com, as well as your local independent bookseller.
For more about Carol Rifka Brunt, go to her website here.