Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tell The Wolves I'm Home

I just finished reading another novel. I am on a roll, as they say. It's been bleak and dreary here today so I just sat and read. One day I must get up and get going. But for now I'll just lose myself in another story.

Tell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. Here is what Random House has to say:

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.

This book took me on a journey. I can remember back in the 1980's when the USA was just finding out about Aids. It was on every newscast. You could feel the panic sweeping across the country. I had been out of nursing school for a few years when I met my first AIDS patient. And I will never forget him. He was young and scared. Very ill by the time he became a patient in the hospital where I worked the night shift.  I was often reminded of this young man as I read this book. He came out in the character of Toby to me. When Stuart was first admitted to our hospital, it was because the home health agencies had refused to take care of him. They were scared. Hell, everyone was scared of Aids. It seemed the more educated we became about the disease the more stupid some people would act. He was in one of my rooms. I never thought to refuse to take care of him. Although I did learn later that many nurses did. He was in 'isolation' which meant taking care of him required we wear gowns, gloves, and masks. All of this we later found was so over the top. (I am reminded of how crazy the country seems to be about Ebola right now). Stuart stayed with us for 6 weeks. He had no where else to go. I remember well the last time that I spoke to him. He told me he wouldn't be there when I came back to work. I laughed and told him "sure, you will. You aren't that sick yet." But that night when I clocked in and walked down my hall I could see they were cleaning out his room. I was shocked. Flabbergasted. And very sad. How did he know?  I will never know the answer to that. But I do know that young man changed me. I used to take my break and go to his room with my coffee and sit and keep him company. I saw he was just a person. No different from the rest of us. Just had a disease that we didn't know much about. And now, ask yourself, when was the last time you heard anything about AIDS.

This book is good. You will be drawn into this young girl's life and her journey to keep her promise to her Uncle.


  1. I really enjoyed this book, I thought it was weirdly beautiful.

  2. Very weirdly beautiful. I took such pity on all the characters

  3. You are making my tbr list much longer lately.

  4. Another one I'll have to write down, Paula. I do remember that time with AIDS in the 1980s and how healthcare basically changed; went from not wearing gloves for lab draws, to wearing gloves, etc. I am a bit more concerned though about Ebola than I was with AIDS back then.


    1. Yes, before AIDS nurses never wore gloves for anything either. We didn't even have them available to us. Only for sterile procedures and then we ordered a size from central supply. Nursing today is soooooo different.

  5. The other night I said I wanted stories that would challenge my emotions -- and here's this post. Dang!
    I'm guessing Stuart's family was a non-event. He was so fortunate to have you near in his last days.

    1. Yes, Stuart's family had never accepted his lifestyle and were not there for him at the end. I hope you will enjoy this book


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