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Review: Tell the Wolves I’m Home

September 4, 2014

Tell the Wolves I'm Home

When June’s Uncle Finn passes away she is devastated.  Finn was her godfather and made the quiet and reserved June feel special like no one else could.  She and her older sister Greta used to be close but lately have drifted apart and, with Finn gone, June feels all alone.  Finn is a well known artist and he paints a portrait of the two girls before he dies.

June’s parents don’t say much about Finn’s death since he died of AIDS and little was known about it in 1987.  When June receives Finn’s special teapot and a note from his partner, Toby, in the mail, June makes arrangements to meet him.  She discovers much of Finn’s life was hidden from her and learns she’s not the only one who misses him.

A member of my book club raved about Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, saying it was the best book she’s ever read, so we read it for our July meeting.  Everyone liked the book but no one loved it quite the way the way she did – maybe our expectations were too high.

Told from the point of view of fourteen year old June, the book is a coming of age story that explores the early fears associated with AIDS.  June is a sweet girl but she’s kind of lost in her family.  Both of her parents are accountants and, since it’s tax season, they’re not around much.  Greta’s busy with school and a play and has struggles of her own.  Finn was the one person June could turn to and, now that he’s gone, she feels totally lost.  I found June easy to relate to even as I cringed at some of her decisions.

The writing in this book is lovely but the plot did drag for me a time or two.  Tell the Wolves I’m Home is full of symbolism, though, so it was a wonderful book club selection – we found a lot to talk about and didn’t need questions to get the discussion started.

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2014 4:48 am

    A new one for me. Thanks for the review.

  2. Beth F permalink
    September 4, 2014 6:46 am

    I can’t believe I still haven’t read this! So many people have raved about it. I’ll try to keep my expectations in line.

  3. September 4, 2014 7:20 am

    This is totally one of my favorite books!

  4. September 4, 2014 7:38 am

    I’ve been circling this book for awhile now.

  5. September 4, 2014 8:08 am

    Thanks for your candid review Kathy. I’ve had this on my To Read list, but never got to it.

  6. September 4, 2014 8:12 am

    I absolutely loved this one and plan to recommend it to my book club, again.

  7. September 4, 2014 9:22 am

    I still haven’t read this one but I need to. Glad you enjoyed it.

  8. September 4, 2014 9:32 am

    I’m glad you read it and reviewed it. I have been seeing this book popping up everywhere. It looks like a good one to have in the TBR pile – maybe somewhere around the middle.

  9. September 4, 2014 10:05 am

    I too have been seeing this book featured, but never read a review til now. I think I will add it to my list now. Thanks.

  10. September 4, 2014 11:35 am

    This book wrecked me! I bet it did generate a lot of discussion in your book club.

  11. Patty permalink
    September 4, 2014 11:38 am

    This is a lesson to remember…I try really hard now to not rave too much about a book but rather to make a suggestion. I have finally learned that reading tastes are so different! The book that I am only so so about…my sister LOVES! It’s amazing!

  12. September 4, 2014 12:19 pm

    I am so looking forward to this one (someday!).

    • September 4, 2014 12:39 pm

      Stacy and Kathy, I don’t remember if you guys have read The Burgess Boys, by Elizabeth Strout. If so, what did you think? The Los Gatos Library Book Club is reading that this month, and, since I’m not working at Village House of Books anymore, I’ve got extra time to read different stuff.

  13. September 4, 2014 12:24 pm

    I am glad you enjoyed this one, Kathy, even though it dragged in places. It sounds like it would be good!

  14. September 4, 2014 1:41 pm

    This is a new book to me as well. Thank you for your honest review. I will keep an eye out for this one.

  15. September 4, 2014 2:58 pm

    I read a book similar to this a few years ago and loved it, so may read this sometime!

  16. September 4, 2014 3:40 pm

    I do not like when the story drags :/

  17. September 4, 2014 4:23 pm

    Lovely review. This is new to me.

  18. September 4, 2014 6:50 pm

    I haven’t heard of this one before, but it sounds interesting.

  19. September 4, 2014 8:58 pm

    Lately I seem to be underwhelmed by books that others have rave about. I’m so glad I saw your review as I’ve been curious about this book.

  20. September 5, 2014 8:27 am

    I’ve had this one on my TBR list forever and never seem to get around to it! But, I have heard good things about it. I understand how sometimes books just don’t like up to the “best book I’ve ever read” label..I had a recent one that I liked a lot, but wasn’t out of this world like people said it was.

  21. September 5, 2014 10:12 pm

    isn’t it amazing how far we’ve come in a few short years with our understanding and acceptance of others? this does sound like one of those books that there would be plenty to discuss in book club!

  22. September 6, 2014 1:23 pm

    We read this one in our book club too and found lots to talk about. I liked it a lot but didn’t love it either.

  23. Jennifer permalink
    September 6, 2014 3:20 pm

    Your book club seems to come up with so many great picks!

  24. September 6, 2014 4:25 pm

    This book broke my heart in the best possible way. I loved it.

  25. September 7, 2014 12:36 pm

    I liked this one a lot but I didn’t LOVE it like others have. Glad y’all had a good discussion. Our group read it but only two other gals showed up and neither of them enjoyed it so we didn’t discuss it at all. Sad!

  26. Ryan permalink
    September 7, 2014 10:18 pm

    Sounds like it would be a really good book. Not sure its one I will ever read, but I’m at least thinking about it.

  27. September 8, 2014 2:25 pm

    The dragging during some parts of this book was an issue for me, too, though I loved the symbolism. At the end of it I just sort of felt like the writing was “meh” though it did touch me at times.

  28. bookingmama permalink
    September 11, 2014 2:50 pm

    I need to read this one. One of my best friends gave it to me and she absolutely loved it.

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