Tell the Wolves I'm Home because the description on the jacket was so unappetizing. I am grateful my book club chose this novel — it's one of my favorite reads of the year so far.
The book jacket makes the story
sound like an AIDS story, which is totally inaccurate. Rather, it's a
story of grief and loss; of growing up, growing apart, and growing
together; of self-discovery and of the discovery of the world from a
different perspective; of family; of tolerance. Carol Rifka Brunt
captures this through the voice and experiences of an unlikely
character: 14-year-old June, a girl at the stage in life where her
self-awareness often shrinks to a microcosm of her own life.
may be a factor in this book, but it is by no means a central
character. In fact, the family and community treat the disease — and the
people with it — with more compassion and honesty than I would have
expected. What a welcome respite from the real world, in which HIV-AIDS
was (and to a certain extent, remains) a media circus threat and
June grieves for her
Uncle Finn, her godfather and closest friend who, in his last year of
life, is painting a portrait of her and her 16-year-old sister Greta.
June thinks she knows her uncle because her uncle knows her. June
doesn't know much beyond her direct experiences with Finn, so she's
shocked to find out that he has a "special friend," and even more
shocked that this mystery person is accused by her family of infecting
Finn with AIDS.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home is
about growing up and growing out of the role of a protected child,
finding one's own path on the cusp of adulthood and learning what
boundaries are worth pushing and what rules should remain unbroken. It's
about finding out that people are more than just who they appear to be.
It is rooted in a time and place: New York, 1987. It is told by a
reliable narrator in a compelling story with rich description and great
honesty. It's perhaps one of the best coming of age stories I've read in
a long time. And it's a touching love story between people who are
trying to figure out how to live with grief and loss.
Read this book and be just as surprised as June that life isn't exactly how it looks from your passenger seat on the train.