When it comes to Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, I have some mixed feelings. There are some aspects of the book that I really enjoyed and others that I just didn’t care for.
I think this book did a great job at depicting the 1980s. I grew up in the ’80s and I really enjoyed all of the ’80s references throughout the book.
Carol Rifka Brunt also portrayed AIDS in the 1980s very accurately. During the ’80s, AIDS was just becoming a widely known disease. However, there wasn’t a lot known about the disease and how it was spread. In Tell the Wolves I’m Home Finn and Toby have AIDS. Brunt does an excellent job of writing the experiences of a person with AIDS living in the 1980s through the lives of FInn and Toby.
I enjoyed Brunt’s writing style and her descriptions at points throughout the book. One of my favorite descriptions was Carol Rifka Brunt’s descrption of NYC in the rain. Brunt writes:
“Toby told me to take a taxi from Grand Central to the apartment. I stared out the window the whole way, because it was raining, which is how I like the city best. It looks like it’s been polished up. All the streets shine and the lights from everywhere reflect off the black. It’s like the whole place has been dipped in sugar syrup. Like the city is one big candy apple.”
– pg 139 “Tell the Wolves I’m Home” by Carol Rifka Brunt
There were aspects of the character of 14 year old June that I liked and that I could relate to. June was very shy and because of her shyness she didn’t socialize as much as her sister Greta. Brunt writes:
“Greta knows there are no good parties. I’m okay with one or two people, but more then that and I turn into a naked mole rat. That’s what being shy feels like. Like my skin is too thin, the light too bright. Like the best place I could 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.”
– pg 34 “Tell the Wolves I’m Home” by Carol Rifka Brunt
In a lot of ways, I could relate to June as I am a shy person and social situations like this can be difficult for me as well. I’m much more comfortable around people that I know and trust.
For most of the book, I didn’t care for Greta at all. She was so mean to June, Finn and Toby. Greta was also very entitled and self absorbed. I will say that by the end of the book, the reader learns why Greta behaves the way that she does and Greta does begin to treat June better. For me, though, I disliked Greta so much through most of the book and it was hard to change those feelings so quickly as I read the last chapters of the book.
I really disliked the way that Carol Rifka Brunt wrote June’s feelings towards her Uncle Finn and then even her Uncle Toby. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t go into detail. However, I felt that Brunt took it too far and crossed a line that had me thinking…What?!?! That would never really happen! It really upset me. These feelings of June’s are spread throughout the entire story. Everytime I read about them, it made my stomach turn. I just didn’t understand why or enjoy this part of the story at all. It seemed very inappropriate and unnecessary.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifke Brunt had some parts I really enjoyed and others that I struggled with. Overall, I thought it was a mostly enjoyable story with some good, descriptive language.