Monday, December 23, 2013

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Image from LibraryThing
June is the youngest of two sisters. Her older sister, Greta, is the high school sweetheart, the beauty, the actress, the poised one...and then there is June Elbus. At least that is the way June sees herself - as the 'other' Elbus sister.

But, June has a couple of secret passions - imagining that she can roll back time to the dark ages and her uncle Finn.  Unfortunately, both of these passions are rather impossible.  Finn has Aids and well, time travel is frowned on.

Brunt guides the reader onto a back and forth Playland ride between June's current reality and moments with Finn in and around New York.  Some of her moments were shared with Greta as Finn, a famous artist, painted their portrait on the last of his Sundays.  Other moments were precious memories of time alone with Finn - at the Cloisters, listening to Requiem, wandering around Finn's New York.

And then Finn dies.

In the weeks that follow June's life changes as she meets and becomes friends with Finn's 'murderer', Toby - his partner.  June's mom had threatened to cut off all ties between Finn and the girls if he whispered a hint of his partner to them - Toby is a complete stranger.  So, when Toby delivers an odd package with a cryptic note to June it is the first she knows anything of this other half of Finn's life.  As June figures out what to do with this growing friendship her relationship with Greta becomes more and more fractured - until it all comes to a head one stormy night.

This is a story of growing up - of learning hard truths about the ones you love and making the decision to accept that imperfection or reject it.  It is a story of the cords that bind families together and sometimes smother them. It is a story of the hard reality of Aids and one young girl's fight to keep fear and pain at bay.  It is a story of moving from the passions of our imagination to the realities of our own lives.

I loved this book!  I cried and laughed and hurt and remembered.  I remembered those last few moments of childhood before I understood that the world may not be the one that I dreamed it would be.

Read it!!

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