Monday, April 7, 2014
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rufkin Brunt
The year is 1987 and June has just lost the most important person in her life to AIDS. After the death of her Uncle Finn, June makes an unlikely friend and learns some hard truths about her family and herself.
Please note you will NOT get me to change my opinion, so if you just loveloveloved Tell the Wolves I’m Home and can’t understand how anyone could not – you should probably just move along. I know I have chosen the road less taken, but I have to own up to the fact that I did not like this book. At all. I think the only reason it received the hype it did was that Carol Rifka Brunt made it take place at the onset of the AIDS crisis. If Finn died of just plain old cancer, no one would have given two shits about this novel. If you liked it, more power to you. As for me, my 1 Star rating, and this review????
Every moment in this novel felt forced. Rather just saying we’re in 1986/87, the issue is pushed with horrible “product placement” type announcements that are completely unnecessary (i.e., “the Rubix cube on the dresser”, or “wax on/wax off”, or “Tiffany’s new remake of an old classic – “I Think We’re Alone Now” – playing on the radio. The only thing missing was June walking in wearing her “Frankie Say Relax” t-shirt). Rather than writing a story about familial relationships and how they can disintegrate so easily, the AIDS crisis has been pushed to the forefront as the excuse for bad behavior. Rather than letting June be devastated when her favorite person in the world dies (or making June’s character younger and experiencing “first love” with her uncle), instead we deal with a 14 year old and a type of love that pushes toward perversion rather than adoration. I realize (again) that I have taken a very unpopular opinion. But you know what?
I can’t remember reading a book where I liked the characters less than this. June is an idiot, Greta is a bully, the mother is a bitch, the father is absentee. The only person I wanted to know anything about was Toby. I want to read Toby’s story. I want to know everything about him in great detail. His childhood, how he fell in love with Finn, how he dealt with having AIDS back when even the President of the United States wouldn’t dare mention the name, what it felt like to get diagnosed with an illness that meant everyone would be terrified of you, and how he managed to survive losing the love of his life. Toby’s story is one that needs to be told – just not by Carol Rifka Brunt. She’d only f%$@ it up and make it dirty and horrible.
If you loved this book, I’m happy for you and please know I really wanted (expected) to as well. Sadly, it just wasn’t in the cards for me. Once again, I posted an honest review and