This week has been much better than last! My cat is doing wonderfully despite her bad attitude (we’re still in shame cone mode until about Friday) and until this morning the week has been going smoothly enough. This morning I locked my keys and backpack in my car because I’m a distracted shmuck and that has pretty much set the tone for my day. But! I will not let this get me down as I continue to shovel my way out from under my mountain of homework- I got slammed with reading this week by a certain, Southern professor so I’m kind of behind on a few things, but I won’t name names.
Speaking of being down — this book made me cry my eyes out! That sounds terrible, I know, but it was a pretty cathartic cry so it wasn’t too bad. Carol Rifka Brunt really knows how to capture a reader’s heart and then rip it out.
“Tell The Wolves I’m Home” takes place in the last few years of the 1980’s, only a few years into the AIDS epidemic that was decimating the New York LGBT community. June Elbus is fourteen, painfully shy, and in love with (potentially the idea of) her uncle, Finn. A talented, gay artist living in Manhatten her uncle is a type of lifeline for June by connecting her to the world through art and music. They are incredibly close but there is an undeniable dependency issue going on on June’s end of the relationship. The book follows June’s life in the weeks leading up Finn’s death and the months after, the things that she learns about her uncle and her distant mother, how she and her sister deal with their grief and figuring out how she fits into the world around her. It’s a beautifully written character-driven novel that addresses the issues, stigmas, and fears that were running rampant during the epidemic. Brunt introduces characters, makes you fall in love with them, and then rips them away or tears them down without a thought. The effect leaves an ache of loss that captures the emotions of the time exceptionally well.
The story is strong, the characters are palpable, and the book elicits a strong emotional response almost effortlessly. Brunt captures the perspective of this young woman beautifully and makes her a strong voice of the pain and injustice that the victims of AIDs and their families face. Evocative and dripping with nostalgia and hope this is a coming-of-age story that I could read again and again. Well, that’s it from me for now- thanks for reading!