Nancy's Reviews > Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
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Jan 09, 14

bookshelves: hiv-aids, fiction, lgbt, library-books, favorites, made-me-cry, shelf-inflicted
Read from August 05 to 07, 2012, read count: 1

Posted at Shelf Inflicted

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that left me completely speechless. I am struggling to find words to express how deeply this story affected me. I read a few reviews and decided it wasn’t for me. My closest friend, Mark, died of AIDS in 1995 and I wasn’t in the mood for anything that may trigger sad memories. Nor was I in the mood to read of the painful and joyful reminiscences of a 14-year-old girl who lost her beloved uncle to the disease. I’m so glad Jason’s review made me change my mind.

This story is much more than the deep love June Elbus had for her uncle, Finn Weiss, who was the only man in her life who understood her completely. It is also about the strained relationship she has with her older sister, Greta, navigating the tumultuous years between childhood and adulthood, and the pain caused by suppressed feelings that result in anger, resentment, and jealousy.

I could understand and relate to June in so many ways. She’s introverted, introspective and an outsider, but she’s no pushover. She’s not that interested in what others think of her, often making her own decisions regardless of peer or parental pressure. I believe that perhaps June was born in the wrong city and the wrong time. At nine, she fantasized about time travel. Now, like her Uncle Finn, she is fascinated with the life and art of the Middle Ages and retreats into another world during her solitary trips to the woods, and their visits to the Cloisters.

Though Finn’s death has affected June’s entire family in different ways, it is June’s pain that feels the most acute. She was the one who spent the most time with him and connected with him on so many levels. So imagine how she feels when she learns that she wasn’t the only significant person in Finn’s life.

June’s friendship with Finn’s partner, Toby, starts tentatively and gradually deepens, as they both share a common grief. They connect through stories about Finn’s life, his art, and the depth of their love for Finn.

I listened to Mozart’s Requiem while I was reading, its intensity, ebbs and flows so much like real life, and I understand why it was so meaningful to June and Finn. Because I was thinking of my friend Mark, his passion for life that matched Finn’s, and the devastation I felt when he died, I couldn’t help but find the Requiem overlaid by one of Mark’s favorite songs, Guns in the Sky.

Now that I’ve returned this book to the library, I’m feeling a little lonely and sad. I need to have my own copy to highlight meaningful passages and relive those intense feelings. I was a little surprised this was not on the YA shelf at the library. It deals with many adult themes, but the hurt, pain, and love pouring from its pages is beautiful and heartbreaking and will stay with you, regardless of your age. I strongly recommend it to all my young friends. This is easily one of my favorite books.

Updated 10/8/13

I now have my own signed copy!

 photo 89bd42b8-2407-49d3-8b70-6eb707729a7a_zpsaed1cad2.jpg

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Comments (showing 1-36 of 36) (36 new)

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Jason Such a fabulous book!!!

Nancy It was your review that made me decide to read it. The librarian had to pry it out of my hands.

message 3: by kisha (new) - added it

kisha It's amazing how your reviews make me change from I may read to I must read! Beautiful review.

message 4: by Nancy (last edited Nov 02, 2012 10:06AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nancy Thanks, Kisha. :)

I think you'll enjoy this. Just have lots of tissues handy. I love your new photo!

message 5: by kisha (new) - added it

kisha Thank you!

message 6: by Margarita (new) - added it

Margarita Your review was the push I need to go look for this book. I'm always weary when a book deals with loss since I feel is too close to home to actually enjoy reading about it, but as soon as the weekend starts I'll read it! Thank you.

Nancy Thank you for your kind comment, Margarita. I hope you enjoy the book.

Dana I don't know if you ever read fan fiction, but someone just wrote this little story about Finn and Toby, and it's wonderful.

Nancy Thanks, Heather. :)

Jillyn I'm so glad you enjoyed this. It was my top book of 2012.

Nancy Mine too!

Carly Svamvour That was a good idea, listening to the requiem while reading the book

Nancy I think next time I read it, I'll try the audio version.

message 15: by Pam (E.P. Scott) (new)

Pam (E.P. Scott) Beautifully written.

Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost Whisper I love the shelf-name. "Shelf-inflicted"

Nancy Thank you, Pam. "Shelf Inflicted" is the blog I contribute to.

message 18: by Lynne (new) - added it

Lynne King Nancy, You've really written a brilliant review here. I was so sorry to hear about your friend though. AIDS -that's such a sensitive subject in that there is still no sign of a vaccine. I was convinced that the Pasteur Institute in Paris would have found it but still no sign of this elusive vaccine.

I'll add it to buy but I'm getting "bogged" down with books and it's getting somewhat heated on the "home front" with my book purchases...

message 19: by Julia (new) - added it

Julia Thank you for your review, Nancy.

Nancy Thank you for your kind words, Lynne and Julia. If Mark were living today, he'd have been thrilled that he could get married.

Nancy Carol Rifka Brunt joins us for a rare North American appearance as she celebrates the paperback release of her decorated first novel, Tell the Wolves I'm Home...

Nancy I'm not sure why my image is not showing up.

You can check it out here:

message 23: by Alicja (new) - added it

Alicja You convinced me I need to read this book or my life will be poorer if I don't. Thank you for the wonderful review!

Nancy You're welcome, Alicja. I hope you enjoy the book.

I got to meet the author recently and had my book signed. I'm trying to get the image to show and it's not working.

Nancy My image is showing now!

message 26: by Alicja (new) - added it

Alicja Nancy wrote: "My image is showing now!"

That's so awesome!

Nancy Aside from the weather, it was a really fun evening. A really bad lightning storm knocked out power to part of the street. Fortunately, the bookstore was spared.

When I walked to my car, I found it partially buried in mud and water. I had to take my shoes off and roll my pants up so I wouldn't get soaked.

message 28: by Alicja (new) - added it

Alicja Sounds like great memories from that day!

message 29: by Lynne (new) - added it

Lynne King I've just reread your super review Nancy and it has made me realise that it is now right to read this book. It wasn't before...

Nancy I hope you enjoy the book, Lynne. I'll be nearby if you need tissues or a hug.

message 31: by Lynne (new) - added it

Lynne King Oh my God, will I need tissues....

Nancy You may...I used up quite a few.

Lindsey Jones Great review! I, too, felt that it could easily venture into the YA category!

Nancy Thanks, Lindsey. It's definitely one of those books that everyone could enjoy regardless of age.

message 35: by Hamza (new) - added it

Hamza Shaikh I have just ordered this book online.. :-) Hope it's worth it.
I have been saving money to get this book :-)

Nancy I hope you enjoy it!

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