My Rating: 2 of 5 stars
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback; Reprint edition (June 4, 2013)
There was a thing, maybe it still is a thing. To have a precocious child as the leading protagonist in a book. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt happens to be one of them. I think while reading this book I was supposed to feel compassion and empathy for June but instead all I felt was rage. Nothing but rage.
It’s the late 80’s the height of the AIDS epidemic and June Elbus has lost the most beloved person in the world to this devastating disease. Her Uncle Finn. June and Finn have a special relationship. He understands her like no more else. Especially her bitch of a sister Greta and her non-existent parents. As you are reading Tell the Wolves I’m Home, you can tell that June’s feeling for her Uncle run much deeper and beyond a niece and uncle relationship. Uncle Finn see this as well but never acts upon. Thank goodness. Cause I wasn’t in the mood to be reading about incest. Ewwww
Anyways, as you know Finn dies and June is a lost angst filled teenager that is trying to deal with grieve in her own way. Which is understandable but between the pacing and the writing, I never felt anything but rage and disgust. Not only does June come off as naïve and selfish but also whiny. I can’t deal with whiny people.
So here is the thing. June thinks no one understand her grieve and what she is going through. No one understand what her relationship was to her Uncle. That is until she meet Uncle Finn’s special friend (boyfriend) Toby. Toby was most likely to be the character that comes off as sympathetic to June’s pain and heartache instead he’s comes off as a creeptastic pedophile.
Sorry but don’t come up to my house in a fake mailman outfit to drop off a keepsake item of my Uncle. Don’t write me letters, telling me you are there for me and please don’t tell your parents that I’m corresponding with you. Don’t invite me to your apartment. Just don’t. That’s hella creepy and downright inappropriate for a grown ass man. Stalker much.
But silly June agrees to all of this. From taking money from him. To taking the train all the way to the city to meet up with this friend you never heard your Uncle talk about. Which I get because the whole being Gay was bad. Still I thought June would have a little more sense.
All of this so that she could hear more stories about Finn and get a deeper understanding of who the man she called Uncle.
But here’s the kicker. Once she starts spending time with Toby she becomes jealous that her Uncle had someone other than her to keep him company. To take to the museum. To talk to. She was jealous that Toby knew about her, knew more about Uncle Finn then she did. By this point in the book I wanted to slap the hell out of this girl. Look we get it. You’re grieving but there’s no need to wallow in your grieve. And honestly that is what this book does for about 75% of the time. Let’s not forget the teen angst. There’s tons and tons of it.
I was thoroughly exhausted after reading this book and I’m not even going to hit on my problem with how the author handle the whole AIDS business. Personally speaking, the author seem like she needed a wow factor. A little shock and awe to make people want to buy and read this book. Too bad it comes of ass condescending.
Overall, with flat unlikeable, un-relatable characters and a rather slow pacing the book isn’t all that bad. There will be some that will gobble this up and shed tears and rave about this book. I just so happen that to be one of them. The only thing that saved this book from be a 1 star was the ending. There was a breakthrough towards the end of the book that finally made me get a sense of these two characters. But honestly that breakthrough was a little too late.
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