Saturday, 6 December 2014

Tell The Wolves I'm Home - Carol Rifka Brunt

Tell the Wolves I'm Home

22 years ago, a friend of mine died.  Aids.  just a little time before that wonderful cocktail of drugs was found that would have kept him alive. So this novel was very close to home.  Some readers may find this painful, and very emotional; but told by a fourteen year old girl, whose sixteen year old sister hates her with a vengeance, some may find all sorts of truths within.

The girls' uncle, Finn, was a painter who's stock was rising when he died.  June, who tells the story, was in love with her uncle, and Greta, her sister was jealous.  It sounds simple, but think again, for there are truths and untruths here, and it takes most of the book for everything to become clear.  When Finn dies, June is heartbroken, and Greta becomes ever more cruel.  At the funeral, they see a man who their parents steer them clear of - Toby, Finn's "special friend",  who will play a large part in June's life for a very short time.

Set in the mid-1980s, the book reminded me of that time when it seemed that anyone could catch the damned disease, people were frightened, and so many died.  The anger, the fear, the despair are all here, seen through the eyes of people who are unlikely to die from it, but are affected by it.  The girls's mother, Finn's sister - who is so angry that her brother left her; the girl's father, taking his wife's side  and working hard to keep the family safe;  the boy at school who likes June, and Greta, jealous of Finn's treatment of June. Then of course, Toby, who is affected ..... all these people will be touched in some way by June's feelings. This is how teenagers feel.  This is how they lie, how they think no-one else knows, how they cope with grief.  Is it aimed at Young Adults?  It's a book for everyone, although some may love it, and some may not.  I am one of the former.