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review 2016-04-24 16:20
heartbreaking, Uplifting, Thought-provoking and Totally Stunning
Tell the Wolves I'm Home - Carol Rifka Brunt

Oh my, what a book; heartbreaking, uplifting, thought-provoking and totally stunning. I’m so glad I finally got around to reading this wonderful debut.


I’m not quite sure how to categorize this book. It’s a coming of age story. It’s a story about first love. This book tells the tale of the aftermath of a devastating loss. Tell the Wolves I’m Home is about human imperfection and isn’t afraid to be honest about selfishness while showing there are always opportunities to redeem ourselves again.


This story deals with AIDS at a time when the disease first exploded into our consciousness. That in and of itself would be more than enough to make this a thought-provoking read. But it does more. It places the disease in the middle of other, timeless, struggles. June is only fourteen when her beloved uncle and godfather Finn dies. It is her first confrontation with the cruelty of death, and since it is the uncle she not only loves but has also fallen in love with who dies, it triggers an avalanche of feelings in her she’s just not equipped to deal with yet.


I admired the honesty of the author. June is not always a nice character to read about. Some of her feelings and actions are totally selfish—without regard for the feelings of others or potential consequences. And that’s only right. Fourteen is a tough time even when your life runs smoothly. Through June’s experiences we see the continued struggle growing up can be and while it isn’t always easy to read, it does sound true to life and was, for me at least, totally recognisable. After all, doesn’t every teenager just know that nobody has ever loved as deeply or hurt as badly as they do?


While AIDS features prominently in this story, I wouldn’t say it is a story about the disease. For me it was a story about growing up, about losing and finding again both yourself and those around you. The tale it tells was all to recognisable for me; suddenly losing the connection you’ve always had to your parents and sibling(s), the overpowering hugeness of the new feelings you experience, and the push and pull between wanting to discover the rest of your life while yearning for the simplicity of yesterday.


For me this was a poignant and brutally honest story. There are no easy answers, nor comfortable solutions. Not every issue is resolved, nor every worry erased. And while that means Tell the Wolves I’m Home wasn’t always easy to read it did make the book totally engrossing and I can say with absolute certainty that this story will play on my mind for quite some time to come.

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review 2016-03-22 16:24
Just wonderful
Tell the Wolves I'm Home - Carol Rifka Brunt
  I don't have much to say - it is just wonderful. I loved every word and I can't add anything to that!
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text 2015-07-18 17:52
Powiedz wilkom, że jestem w domu
Powiedz wilkom, że jestem w domu - Carol Rifka Brunt

Podoba mi się tytuł. Książki powinny mieć długie tytuły. 


Jestem prawie pewna, że przeczytałam gdzieś, że to „powieść młodzieżowa”, ale teraz nie mogę znaleźć tego stwierdzenia powtórnie i już chyba sama nie wiem.


Jak napisali z tyłu: „słodko-gorzka, melancholijna opowieść o głębokiej przyjaźni, skomplikowanej rywalizacji między siostrami i zmaganiach z nieuleczalną chorobą” – właściwie prawda.


Napisali też, że: „narracja Brunt przypomina odsłonięty nerw pulsujący w agonalnych drgawkach” – albo źle sobie to wyobrażam, albo to akurat zdecydowanie nieprawda (bo wszystko brzmi bardziej jak ta „powieść młodzieżowa” jednak).


Mam wrażenie,  że mało tam się dzieje, ale… Jeśli z przyjemnością czytało mi się 400 stron, na których mało się dzieje, to znaczy, że narracja – ze swoimi wszystkimi ozdobnikami i dygresjami – daje radę.


Szkoda tylko, że w większość trudno było mi uwierzyć – nie wzruszało, nie było mi bliskie. Ale może to po prostu niewłaściwy moment albo niewłaściwa ja. 



Wracam tutaj!

Wracam do słów, pisania i książek.

Empik stworzył listę 100 lektur, które trzeba znać – spodobała mi się i zawstydziła, także dużo czytania. Będzie prześwietnie.


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review 2015-03-18 00:00
Tell the Wolves I'm Home: A Novel
Tell the Wolves I'm Home: A Novel - Carol Rifka Brunt Set against the backdrop of the early years of the AIDS epidemic, this was a touching coming of age story. Not only has 14 year old June just lost her Uncle Finn to AIDS, but there are secrets coming out that have her questioning all she has thought about her Uncle and her family.

There are a number of relationships in this book that are tinged with jealousy and misunderstanding. The most egregious is June's mother Danni, whose jealousy and misdirected anger at her brother Finn, over her own inability to stand on her own and move on, has resulted in an emotional blackmail with years of lies and is causing June even more pain as she tries to grieve.

June's relationship with Toby, the only other person she feels might understand her pain, is fraught with complications and her older sister Greta seems to be spiraling downward before her eyes. I related to June and her "weirdness" and Toby was a bright spot in the story. Even Greta grew on me in the end, but I couldn't find myself giving Danni any good thoughts.

Heartbreaking at times, this was a good read with layered relationships and interesting characters that made for a good book club discussion.
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review 2015-02-19 00:28
Every now and again there is a story that begs to be told; I think this is one of them.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home: A Novel - Carol Rifka Brunt

This is a poignant story about impossible, unspeakable loss, backward beliefs, misunderstandings, secrets, and shame for no good reason. I am not sure this book will attract a wide audience. The subject is “old hat” to some, too intense for others, but for those who lived during the era of the Aids Epidemic, those whose lives were touched by someone like Finn or Toby, a homosexual couple, this book will be very moving, meaningful and memorable.
Junie Elbus was a dreamer, a "romantic" as her Uncle Finn said. She was young; she wanted to live in medieval times, become a falconer, or a teacher. Her older sister, Greta, at sixteen was a senior in high school. She was more grounded. An achiever, she was bright as well as a talented performer. Both Elbus parents were Accountants who worked together in a business partnership. The book tells the story of this family, forced to face the revelation of homosexuality and the shame associated with Aids, the disease with no known cure or even treatment. It takes place in the 1980’s, when Aids was a fairly unknown and unforgiving disease. It was a death sentence. It was a time when Aids was also the hidden disease. When victims died, it was said they died from unconfirmed causes. The method of transmission was uncertain, creating fear and isolating those infected. The gay community was ostracized and ridiculed, making the situation much worse. The victims were pariahs; they suffered alone, for the most part, unless they were tended by those who were suffering along with them.
Fourteen year old June is the godchild of her Uncle Finn, whom she absolutely adores, but unknown to her, until his death, is his homosexuality. Her mom has hidden his partnership from her, and she has refused to acknowledge his partner in any way, either before his death or afterwards, forcing June to make decisions the adults refused to consider. Her coming of age was both tender and painful as she faced her uncle’s death, his formerly unknown partner Toby’s wish to develop a friendship with her, her older sister Greta’ coldness and jealousy, her parent’s work schedule, her mother’s fears and her own loneliness and neediness.  Perception is a looming issue in this story; there is the perception of normal, of sexuality, lying, drinking, love, friendship, talent, capability, reality, danger and fantasy. Both parents want June to be more involved socially, more successful like her sister, whom they excessively praise and admire, even as she deteriorates before their eyes, although they are blind to her decline.
As I read the book, I wondered how many people reading it could truly identify with it, had actually lived through it with anyone, was familiar with Bellevue Hospital, with the lonely wraiths walking the halls dejectedly, because no one would touch them, no one was there to comfort them as they withered and wasted away. I can still see, in my mind’s eye, the robed, sad men slowly shambling down the hallways, sadness and pain written on their gaunt faces, alone, unwanted, spurned and humiliated. I remember the time clearly because I was touched by the tragedy, but still, I never rejected my gay friend, whose life must have been one of secret horror, since he could never truly be who he was, and even after being diagnosed, he could never admit that he was homosexual or bisexual, rather he said he had cancer, although he had Aids. It was just not discussed. I watched with anguish knowing this man so dear to me was doomed. I was grateful that he had a partner who would stand by him, with him, but sad when she refused to be tested or to take any type of preventive treatment, even after losing her own brother to the dreaded disease, as well.  
I wondered how many reading the story would have been mature enough and brave enough to do the things that June did, to visit, drink from the washed glasses, touch the hands, kiss the cheeks, hug and offer solace to the sufferer. My heart breaks when I think of my friend’s unnecessary shame, for his unnecessary loneliness and for his misfortune to have gotten Aids before the drugs to help him were available. My heart aches because of the ignorance of the adults in the room, when the child had more compassion and willingness to learn and understand than all the learned people around her who instead of loving and helping the victim, were busy protecting themselves from the shame associated with the disease, for knowing someone with the disease brought on unrealistic fears and friends who rejected them. I am glad that Aids is no longer the dreaded disease it once was and sorry for its earliest of victims.

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