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

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
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's review
Aug 02, 2012

really liked it

This is a story about jealousy, how jealousy poisons our loves and lives when left unchecked.

June is a charming and strange young protagonist. I felt many pangs of nostalgia over her state of mind and powerful imagination, which is one of those stalwart childhood companions that can fall at the emergence of adulthood -- sometimes I miss my old new brain. I was expecting the book to focus on the friendship between June and her uncle's "special friend" Toby, but most of the novel's tension is the damaged relationship between June and her frequently cruel, perplexing sister Greta. It's this dynamic that gives the novel a bitter kick to an otherwise sad but sweet tale of a little girl growing up in a world where AIDs was still a little understood plague that was either not talked about, or sensationalized in a way that did little to help its sufferers.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home clips along at a quick pace that belies the stout heart between its covers. Speaking of such, I know we're not supposed to judge a book by it, but what a cover! Whenever the action fell and I was tempted to put down the book for a spell, I would just flip to the book cover and, alright, the disembodied girl's head over a lunging bear over a teapot makes a fine point to continue. One criticism I have is that while the characters did feel emotionally true, sometimes they were just too on-the-nose articulate about their feelings. It was like the writer was shouting out through the lips of her characters, rather than trusting the reader to read between the lines. Furthermore, the ending came far too swiftly, with one of the novel's emotional climaxes summarized in a couple lines in a paragraph.

Overall, though, this is a very strong debut. I'm excited to see what else Brunt has up her sleeves.
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