Friday, August 24, 2012
Book Review: Tell the Wolves I'm Home
June Elbus is fourteen years old and about to experience one of the most profound losses, the death of a beloved relative. Junie's uncle Finn was her godfather, but also her best friend. He understood her more than anyone else and she is shattered by his death. While grappling with her profound grief, she receives a package from a special friend of Finn's, containing the beautiful teapot Finn always used when Junie and her sister visited to sit for a portrait he was painting. The gift of this teapot triggers an unlikely (unacceptable even, in the eyes of her family) friendship. June discovers someone who loved Finn as much as she had and who holds secrets she never expected.
The story read like unwrapping a special package. With each layer of exposure, the gift became more profound. I loved how June grew and was nurtured by the compassion of another. I loved how Finn's portrait played a significant role in the unfolding of the story. I enjoyed watching Junie change and grow both in her understanding of her world and her ability to love and restore hope for another individual. Because the story takes place in 1987, there were many references which made my heart smile in recognition.
Although the story line involves homosexuality, the plot was not driven by this element. Indeed the story was central and the homosexual relationship was merely part of the tension which led June into herself and into maturity. Although I know this book will not be for everyone, I was touched by it. I appreciated the characters, the pacing, the tensions and the redemptive resolution.