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April 23, 2015

Tell the Wolves I’m Home

Tell the wolvesTell the Wolves I’m Home

By: Carol Rifka Brunt

In Tell the Wolves I’m Home, Carol Rifka Brunt gives us a coming of age story told through the eyes of June, a 14-year old girl in 1987.  Her Uncle Finn, who is also her godfather and closest friend, has been diagnosed with AIDS and passes away shortly after the novel begins.  This novel explores the complex emotions surrounding her loss as well as the way it affects the rest of her family—her mother, father and 16-year old sister, Greta.  Her parents, both accountants in the middle of tax season, leave June and Greta to fend for themselves during most of the novel.

Growing up in the 1980’s (like the narrator, I was 14 in 1987), this book was both nostalgic and eye-opening for me.  I hadn’t thought about the fear and hysteria that surrounded the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s in years, until I read the parts of the novel where the reader encounters this.  This is an interesting setting for the novel which allows Brunt to explore how anger and fear control the ways we interact with each other, even those we love the most.

While the choice of narrator initially feels like a young adult novel, the thoughtful treatment of the subject and complex characterization are geared to adults. This is a very tragic, moving, and wonderful novel which explores not only Finn and June’s relationship; but also, the profound impact family members have on each other.

Review By: Heidi Herald