I have finished the 117th book for the book challenge. It was Tell The Wolves I’m Home: A Novel by Carol Rifka Brunt.
This is a book about relationships. It is about the love a young girl has for her uncle and for her sister. It is about the attachment she forms with her deceased uncles’s lover. It is about the maturing love she learns to live with.
June Elbus’s uncle Finn Weiss is a famous painter who is dying of AIDS. He is painting a portrait of June and her sister Greta. They sit for the portrait on the weekends at his apartment in New York City. It is the highlight of June’s life. She adores her Uncle Finn and is crushed when he dies. At his funeral, she sees a man and is told by her parents that he is the reason her uncle died and that he isn’t welcome at the funeral.
A week after the funeral, her uncle’s favorite teapot arrives at her door delivered by a messenger. There is a note asking her to call a man named Toby, her uncle’s friend, who has something her uncle wanted her to have. It is the man from the funeral. June is wary but she misses her uncle and is curious. She arranges to meet the man and through her meetings with Toby, her learns much about her uncle and Toby and their life together.
She also learns to care for Toby. She receives a Day Book that was her uncle’s with a note to her in it which asks her to take care of Toby, who is also dying of AIDS. June and Toby begin to have their own relationship in the City and in Finn’s apartment. They grieve over Finn together.
Greta is in the play South Pacific at school. She is playing Dirty Mary and is quite good. Good enough to get an audition to try out for Annie in the City. But she is drinking and she misses her sister. So she acts out. She is drunk on stage the first night of the play. She goes out to the woods instead of going to the cast party. She was to meet June there but June is grounded for defacing the portrait of the girls. June knows Greta is drunk and in the woods. She calls Toby and asks him to find Greta.
Toby goes to find Greta and Greta screams. The police are called and Toby is arrested and Greta is brought home. June is crushed. Toby is taken to jail and then sent to Bellevue since he is sick with AIDS. June and Greta sneak out of the house to see him in the hospital. June doesn’t want to leave him in the hospital to die so she brings him home. Toby dies in the Elbus home, surrounded by June and Greta, who have grown closer.
The episode with Finn and Toby has made June and Greta realize how much they need each other. They had grown apart but realize they need each other. They don’t want to grow apart the way their mother and Finn did. They want to remain close.
This is a sweet book. It is about the pure love that a young girl has for her uncle and his love for her that stretches from beyond the grave. It is about the love and care that his companion has for her because of his love for Finn. The love for Finn that brings the two of them together and binds them together forever.