Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review: Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Tell The Wolves I'm HomeTell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As I read this book I was reminded of Paula Danziger's books. The narrator here is a teenaged girl, Junie, who is dealing with the fact that her beloved uncle, Finn, has AIDS. She is also trying to sort out who she is and how that relates the the people around her, including her sister. The sister is of course having her own meltdown of sorts. There were a few spots in the book where the teenage-angst aspect of the narration bugged me and toward the end Junie responds to events in a way that seemed very callous and not like the person who we had traveled the previous 250+ pages with. There were some real strengths to the novel as well. I can't really explain them without giving away some aspects of the story, so consider this your spoiler alert.

The depiction of NY in the early 80's as AIDS was first appearing was very well drawn. The relationship between Finn and his lover, Toby, which we see only after-the-fact, was used to show how much a couple rubs off on each other. Things that Junie thought of as important aspects of Finn she realizes were really Toby. Without the naive teen narrator I don't think this theme could have been as subtly woven into the story as it was. Related to this was the theme of memory and whether learning more about a situation changes the value of your own memories of it. As Junie works through this issue for herself several good questions are raised which gives the reader a chance to think about this as well.

Overall this is a good novel about some interesting and complex characters.

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