This was another one of those books that I sped through that was often listed on 'Your Next Favorite Book NOW!' and 'Summer Debut Novels To Not Miss!' and so on. I found it on clearance within the past year and finally read it in July with the feeling that it was a light summer read, not knowing what it was about. I love diving into books blindly! I really enjoyed it, but for sure was not a light summer read. Let me rattle on about Tell The Wolves I'm Home!
The story follows teenager June Elbus, navigating her way through the grief of the death of her uncle after he dies from AIDs. The story takes place in the suburbs in the 80's and is such a honest portrayal of family secrets, denial, and sisterhood.
This was Carol Rifka Brunt's debut novel and she writes about relationships in such a raw way that there were definitely several times where it clicked with me that these indescribable feelings you find yourself in with complex and non-traditional relationships aren't completely uncommon. The main character has these 0-100 type of relationships with people in her life, either completely uninterested or utterly obsessed, I could completely relate in certain aspects.
“I really wondered why people were always doing what they didn't like doing. It seemed like life was a sort of narrowing tunnel. Right when you were born, the tunnel was huge. You could be anything. Then, like, the absolute second after you were born, the tunnel narrowed down to about half that size. You were a boy, and already it was certain you wouldn't be a mother and it was likely you wouldn't become a manicurist or a kindergarten teacher. Then you started to grow up and everything you did closed the tunnel in some more. You broke your arm climbing a tree and you ruled out being a baseball pitcher. You failed every math test you ever took and you canceled any hope of ever being a scientist. Like that. On and on through the years until you were stuck. You'd become a baker or a librarian or a bartender. Or an accountant. And there you were. I figured that on the day you died, the tunnel would be so narrow, you'd have squeezed yourself in with so many choices, that you just got squashed.”
― Carol Rifka Brunt, Tell the Wolves I'm Home
This is a really fantastic novel that lets you hide behind grieving or for anyone with a complex relationship with their sister (aren't all sibling relationships a bit complex?). There were some really quirky and sad aspects that made me pretty bummed while reading it, but all in all, I enjoyed it. Wasn't my favorite of all time, but wasn't mad that I was reading it. Tons of beautiful excerpts about being shy, family, love, death, dreams, so on. If you read it, tell me your thoughts!