While Tell the Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt, is certainly not among my more favored novels, it is undoubtedly one of the most quizzical pieces that I have ever read. Spoken through the lens of simplistic, yet exceptionally insightful 14 year-old June Elbus, this novel depicts 2 years in her life as an outcast 1980s adolescent. Feeling immense detachment from her direct family, June seeks refuge in the company of her uncle, Finn. However, when this beloved savoir is killed by an illness that many have titled, “the gay disease,” June’s life spirals into an unyielding quest to seek her uncle’s justice, while protecting all that he has left for her. Even if this means keeping the secrets of the man who had a hand in his death.
The concept of Tell the Wolves I’m Home is irrefutably intricate, as it dwells upon the struggles of social injustices, while additionally encompassing the maturation of a single individual. In this way, it is actually somewhat similar to The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, although I personally believe Liesel Meminger’s story was written far more sensibly. Tell the Wolves I’m Home maintains a strictly monotone voice, that exemplified no depth or emotion whatsoever. As I read, June’s thoughts seemed disconnected and muddled, as if her genuine character wasn’t all there, per say. While the novel itself included innumerable examples of symbolism, many of which were strikingly perceptive, they were all somewhat blatantly presented, and there was no “unearthing” to be performed by the reader. June merely stated her insights frankly, and often claimed for herself if certain situations or objects contained some underlying significance. As I read, it felt as if I was examining a mere grab-bag of symbolic elements, all wonderfully written, but incorrectly implied within the piece.
While this novel is certainly decent, I’m not confident that I would recommend it to those within the Honors English level. It was a fairly simplistic read, and required no sense of exploration or effort by those who attempted to explore it’s contents. I am, however, convinced that I could propose this piece to those of a lower reading level who may not typically seek such metaphorical stories, assuming they can maintain the thoughtfulness and sobriety that this novel requires.