In this striking literary debut, Carol Rifka Brunt unfolds a moving story of love, grief, and renewal as two lonely people become the unlikeliest of friends and find that sometimes you don't know you've lost someone until you've found them.
1987. There's only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that's her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn's company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June's world is turned upside down. But Finn's death brings a surprise acquaintance into June's life--someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.
At Finn's funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn's apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she's not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.
An emotionally charged coming-of-age novel, "Tell the Wolves I'm Home" is a tender story of love lost and found, an unforgettable portrait of the way compassion can make us whole again.
I haven't had the pleasure of reading a book that's this emotional and raw for such a long time. After the pages closed, all I wanted to do was bask in silence and let the tears flow. It was expected that I'd encounter a sad story about death, what I did not expect was how much I'd love the story, and how heartbreaking it all was.
I love all the characters. I like being in June's shoes, seeing everything through her eyes, feel the raw emotions she does, and loves as much as she does. I get to know Finn through her understanding, grow fond of Toby just as she does, and never feels like I know more than she does, just flowing in her pace. I like that the feelings are all honestly told - the good, the bad, even those demons within our hearts that we often hide away just so people won't know how horrible we can be.
Even though some characters - Greta, Danni, are at first exasperating, I'm glad I get to know their stories, and that they react in a humane way, and that makes me understand.
There are pages that make me teary-eyed or smile, because they're that kind of stories; the wonderful, the bittersweet, a story about love in the purest sense of wanting the other to be happy, a story about family, getting lost, getting found, and the discoveries along the way. It's about secrets, but it's also about setting them free. It's about acceptance and friendship and memories and art and finding ourselves.
I love everything about this book. It can get slow and choppy at times but I accept that as how the author wanted to construct this book, and possibly how her style really is. It's definitely a beautiful debut, and I look forward to more of Carol Rifka Brunt's books.
Five stars out of five.