Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Tell the Wolves I'm Home Review
Book talk: June doesn't belong. She was not meant to live in the 1980's--she was made for the Middle Ages. Sometimes, when she's alone in the forest, she pretends that she's gone back in time. She'll stalk silently in the medieval boots her uncle Finn bought her and pretend she's hunting for deer to feed her starving village. Finn is the only one who understands her. But soon, she will lose him. Before he dies, he's determined to paint one last portrait of June and her sister. June looks forward to these painting sessions more than anything in the world, and she thought Finn did too. Which is why it comes as such a shock when she discovers that he had a secret life he was hiding from her.
Rocks my socks: I absolutely adored June! She is what Anne and I call a 'kindred spirit.' Not only does she love pretending that she's living in another era, she feels like a naked mole rat at parties, and imagines what words would look like if they were alive. All of the characters are portrayed with complexity that makes them completely believable. I felt like I knew these characters personally. June has a strained relationship with her sister, and at first it seems as though she is just a jerk. At one point June describes the way she talks as "like a geode. Ugly as anything on the outside and for the most part the same on the inside, but every once in a while there's something that shines through." As the novel progresses, however the motivations behind her behavior are examined and she becomes a sympathetic character. Finn and Toby are wonderfully portrayed as well and I wish they were real and I knew them both. There are so many things that I loved about this book that I can't even begin to list them all. It's sad, as you would expect from a book about AIDS set in the 80's, and I cried great heaving sobs while reading it. But I never felt as if I were being emotionally manipulated, and there is so much more to the novel than the tears.
Rocks in my socks: I wouldn't change a thing.
Every book its reader: This is marketed as an adult novel, but the main character is a teenager and I think teens would enjoy it as well. Especially those who feel misunderstood and as if they don't belong (which, let's face it, is most of them.) I guess it qualifies as historical fiction, but the 80's weren't that long ago. Someone looking for a contemporary, realistic fiction story would certainly enjoy it. It does deal with some intense situations, so I'd probably save it for eighth grade and up.
Carol Rifka Brunt has her own website with an interview about the book, discussion questions, and more.
Pan Micmillan has a reading group page for the book that is loaded with extras from images that inspired the book to playlists suggested by the author.
Brunt lists her top ten favorite outsider girls over at Sugar Scape
I like this book trailer for the book:
Source: ebook from a public library
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt: Buy it or check it out today!
“I like the word clandestine. It feels medieval. Sometimes I think of words as being alive. If clandestine were alive, it would be a pale little girl with hair the color of fall leaves and a dress as white as the moon.”
“That's the secret. If you always make sure you're exactly the person you hoped to be, if you always make sure you know only the very best people, then you won't care if you die tomorrow.”
“That's what being shy feels like. Like my skin is too thin, the light too bright. Like the best place I could possibly be is in a tunnel far under the cool, dark earth. Someone asks me a question and I stare at them, empty-faced, my brain jammed up with how hard I'm trying to find something interesting to say. And in the end, all I can do is nod or shrug, because the light of their eyes looking at me, waiting for me, is just too much to take. And then it's over and there's one more person in the world who thinks I'm a complete and total waste of space.
The worst thing is the stupid hopefulness. Every new party, every new bunch of people, and I start thinking that maybe this is my chance. That I'm going to be normal this time. A new leaf. A fresh start. But then I find myself at the party, thinking, Oh, yeah. This again.
So I stand on the edge of things, crossing my fingers, praying nobody will try to look me in the eye. And the good thing is, they usually don't.”
“I didn’t want to care, but somehow, like always, I did. She was wired into my heart. Twisted and kinked and threaded right through.”
“It was a nice thing for her to say. In her way. With Greta you have to look out for the nice things buried in the rest of her mean stuff. Greta’s talk is like a geode. Ugly as anything on the outside and for the most part the same on the inside, but every once in a while there’s something that shines through.”