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Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka…
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Tell the Wolves I'm Home (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Carol Rifka Brunt, Amy Rubinate (Reader)

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2,0831713,175 (4.14)110
Member:lvmygrdn
Title:Tell the Wolves I'm Home
Authors:Carol Rifka Brunt
Other authors:Amy Rubinate (Reader)
Info:Blackstone Audio, Inc. (2012), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Rating:*****
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Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 170 (next | show all)
It is the late 1980s, at a time when an AIDS diagnosis was a death sentence -- feared, stigmatized, isolating and mentioned only in hushed tones -- and fifteen-year-old June has just lost her uncle Finn, who was also her best friend, to the disease. Shortly following Finn's funeral, June receives a package in the mail containing her uncle's special teapot, along with a handwritten note from Toby, Finn's longtime boyfriend, whose very existence has been kept from her due to her mother's shame and anger. Toby suggests that they meet sometime, in order to talk about Finn and share in their grief, and June knows she would have to keep their encounters secret.

I loved the original premise of this story, which probably couldn't have seen publication twenty, or even ten, years ago. June feels refreshingly genuine in her quirkiness, possessing the occasionally flawed thoughts, actions and reasoning of a real teenager. This is a simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting book. ( )
1 vote ryner | May 25, 2017 |
Possibly the best book I have read all summer. This is a book about family and secrets and AIDs in the mid-1980s. It is narrated by 14 y/o June. To me, this book is about what you think you know about your family and all the things that you misunderstand. The language is beautiful. I did not want this one to end. ( )
  JBSassypants | May 7, 2017 |
Set during the onset of the AIDS epidemic in 1980s New York, June is devastated when her favorite uncle dies. When she is told to have nothing to do with the mysterious man who appears at her uncle's funeral, she becomes intrigued. He is, of course, her uncle's partner, and their relationship develops secretly, allowing the author to explore the boundaries between the gay and straight world in this turbulent time. Excellent read that gets all the details right. ( )
  judiparadis | Apr 29, 2017 |
I have a LOT of complicated feelings about this book.

SPOILER DISCUSSION IN MY CRITIQUE BELOW:
It was marketed to me as an LGBT read which, uh... I guess? Yes, there are a couple confirmed gay characters in it, and there are gay characters with AIDS in it, and AIDS is a major plot point in the book. And like everything else in the universe about AIDS, it made me cry. But it also felt like the use of it as this backdrop piece really created this slippage where it could be used. I did appreciate that the author didn't try to ascribe any 'meaning' to it, though it would be interesting to do a reading of the character of Toby alongside, say, critiques of how PWA were depicted during the mid to late 80s, but it also was left in this amorphous, apolitical space. At one point, June, the narrator, hears Reagan's speech where he breaks the silence on AIDS with the suggestion that people should stop having sex to prevent it, and she literally says something like "I think that's a good idea." And yes, I think we're supposed to attribute that response to her immaturity and her mixed-up feelings about love and romance, but it also gave me this moment of horror because her response went entirely unquestioned. That I find really terrifying, because in my experience, there's a massive memory gap in HIV/AIDS history in people around my age and younger, and I don't need the ~discourse crew~ to get any ideas. And I think the way that sex was just avoided is part of it as well--Toby and Finn (the two gay characters) are painted as these incredibly asexual, borderline saint-like figures who can do nothing wrong. They're probably meant to contrast with the other characters' messy 'regular' lives but it just felt... off and weird to me? It felt icky, I guess is the moral of the story, and I was uncomfortable with it throughout the book. I get that like not everyone was in ACT UP, but there was something about the shift of the pain of dying of AIDS was handed off to the family just rubbed me the wrong way.

All of that being said, this book was incredibly beautifully written, and I had to read the last ~third of the book pretty fast because I had to know what was going to happen to these characters. It's probably a really good book if you, unlike me, have Some Chill, but the things that bugged me bugged me throughout. ( )
  aijmiller | Apr 20, 2017 |
I've thought about this title, and I think the wolves are a good metaphor for the brutality in this "family tale". June and her sister, though young, are brutal in the way they deal with the sorrows of their lives. It was hard to see them being so cruel to each other and to themselves - but there was redemption at the end of the tale as they each were able to move outside themselves and to care for others and to see the truth beyond their self-absorbed constructs. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Apr 16, 2017 |
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For Maddy, Oakley, and Julia
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My sister, Greta, and I were having our portrait painted by our uncle Finn that afternoon because he knew he was dying.
Quotations
You could try to believe what you wanted, but it never worked. Your brain and your heart decided what you were going to believe and that was that. Whether you liked it or not.
You could never see any wolves in there. They hid, probably trying to pretend they weren't in a cage. Probably knowing that they looked just like plain old dogs when they were behind bars.
The gold in our hair looked so perfect right then, and I knew we both saw it. We could see the way it made us look like the closest of sisters. Girls made of exactly the same stuff.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679644199, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2012: In Tell the Wolves I’m Home, Carol Rifka Brunt has made a singular portrait of the late-‘80s AIDS epidemic’s transformation of a girl and her family. But beyond that, she tells a universal story of how love chooses us, and how flashes of our beloved live through us even after they’re gone. Before her Uncle Finn died of an illness people don’t want to talk about, 14-year-old June Elbus thought she was the center of his world. A famous and reclusive painter, Finn made her feel uniquely understood, privy to secret knowledge like how to really hear Mozart’s Requiem or see the shape of negative space. When he’s gone, she discovers he had a bigger secret: his longtime partner Toby, the only other person who misses him as much as she does. Her clandestine friendship with Toby—who her parents blame for Finn’s illness—sharpens tensions with her sister, Greta, until their bond seems to exist only in the portrait Finn painted of them. With wry compassion, Brunt portrays the bitter lengths to which we will go to hide our soft underbellies, and how summoning the courage to be vulnerable is the only way to see through to each other’s hungry, golden souls. --Mari Malcolm

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:21 -0400)

"1987. The only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus is her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn's company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June's world is turned upside down. But Finn's death brings a surprise acquaintance into June's life ... June realizes she's not the only one who misses Finn, and that this unexpected friend just might be the one she needs the most"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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