- The cover caught my eye, the ratings on GoodReads sealed the deal.
Summary from GoodReads:
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.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home is a quiet little book with a message that should be shouting to be heard. Hidden behind a story of a big issue (AIDS) is a story about the complicated relationships between uncles and nieces, sisters and brothers, sisters and sisters, and children and parents. Add into the mix an unknown entity and memories and pain and you get a story that has a heartbeat that is impossible to ignore.
In Tell the Wolves I’m Home, we’re told a story from the perspective of young, 14 year old June. Every Sunday she, her sister, and her mother make their way to her mother’s brother’s house where he is painting a portrait of the sisters. He’s dying, you see, and June is so very close to him and feels his soon-to-be-absence keenly.
But Finn, her uncle, has his secrets as well, and June is faced with them after he passes away. It’s how June deals with these secrets and her family where the book begins to speak loudly. I read this story through tears – and I’m not often moved by contemporary stories. It tore at my heartstrings and I raged at the injustice shown by the characters while realizing that those same injustices happen every day here in life. Carol Rifka Brunt has taken on a difficult subject and tackled it strongly, clearly, and with an extraordinary amount of empathy and I closed this book reluctantly – unwilling to say goodbye to its characters.
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