Tell The Wolves I'm Home
"After a snowstorm is one of the best times to be in the woods, because all the empty beer and soda cans and candy wrappers disappear, and you don't have to try as hard to be in another time. Plus there's just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you're special, even though you know you're not." Chapter 7's beginning lines, thirty pages into Carol Rifka Brunt's novel, Tell the Wolves I'm Home, was when I knew I was hooked. I could simply not stop reading. Narrated by June, the novel tells the story of the aftermath of her uncle Finn's death in 1987 from AIDS. The novel's title is taken from the title of the portrait that Finn completes of June and her sister, Gretl, right before he dies. It is a haunting story: dealing with the death of a loved one is not easy, nor is it meant to be. June's family all deals with Finn's death in different ways, yet June feels the most impacted. Until she meets Toby. I do not want to spoil anything for you, simply urge you to read this novel. It is an emotional story. But its not emotional in the sense that it presents its readers with death to force a reaction.
That's the secret. If you always make sure you're exactly the person you hoped to be, if you always make sure you know only the very best people, then you won't care if you die tomorrow.
It is emotional in the way the novel is crafted; the feelings of the characters slowly overtake you, and the multiple story lines (conflict within the family, within june, with toby) and love stories, in a sense, are resolved in an unexpected manner. Also, this was a somewhat of a historical novel. Set in 1987, during the AIDS epidemic, the reader is transported back in time seamlessly. As the library journal describes Brunt's novel, "it is both a painful reminder of the ill-informed responses to a once little-known disease and a delightful romp through an earlier decade." Through June and her family, the reader has a lens to understand the difficulties of the time period. Thanks to my mom for this recommendation. Rating: ★★★★★