Hello everyone! Last night, I finished Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt so today I’ve got a review for you 🙂
What the book is about…
1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life–someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.
At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.
What I thought of it…
I knew right away that this was going to be a special book. I instantly connected with the writing style and I knew it was going to have a powerful emotional impact on me.
Brunt’s characterisations were so well done. I really sympathised with June and felt a little bereft when the book ended and I was no longer in her head. Her sister, Greta, who starts out seemingly vile, has some of the best character development and I really came to understand her and why she behaved the way she did. The author did such a great job of making her characters feel real.
Another thing Brunt did amazingly well was capture how ignorant people were about AIDS in the 1980s; it was genuinely hard to read. I know that’s the way things were but gosh, it was tough to see it in black and white on the page in front of me.
I did have a slight issue with the fact that the book kept talking about AIDS being ‘given’ to a person. Technically, it’s HIV that is passed between people and AIDS just results from that; you don’t infect someone with AIDS. I’m seriously nit-picking but it did grate on me a little each time it came up because it’s not wholly accurate. However, even with that, this is a 5-star book for me.
This was such a quiet and gentle book. There is a vein of poignancy running throughout and you would have to have a heart of stone to not be affected by it. Brunt has written a story of such raw beauty and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Have you read this one? Or any other books about the AIDS epidemic? I’d love to read more books about this topic if you have any recommendations! x