Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Book Review -- Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Tell the Wolves I'm Home
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
My enjoyment rating: 3 of 5 stars
Hangover rating: 2
Source: Personal copy
Genre: General fiction (but really could be YA)
Objectionable material: None

June Elbus is heartbroken when her beloved Uncle Finn dies of AIDS. What he leaves behind is a portrait, a boyfriend, and sister (June's mother) who is reluctant to accept Finn's past lifestyle and the man he left behind. June must act as the peacemaker in her family to resolve the conflict within her home, even at the risk of hurting the one she cares the most about.

I loved June. A 14 yr old obsessed with Mozart's Requiem is a girl after my own heart. She was loyal, independent, fearless and carefree. Getting on a train to Manhattan from her suburban home, without an adult knowing her whereabouts, was completely normal. She fought with her sister and loved unconditionally.

My biggest hurdle with this novel was the relationship crafted between June and Toby (her deceased uncle's surviving boyfriend). For me it was just odd, weird, creepy -- they met at his apartment after school, they got drunk together, he taught her how to smoke -- I just didn't get it. At the end of the novel -- the author uses these interactions to show the deep well of love and loyalty June had not only Toby, but Finn as well, but it still seemed unnatural to me.

That being said -- I loved the layers the author created between June, her sister Greta, her parents, school, the art world -- a very multidimensional narrative that was brilliantly executed.