Sunday, August 11, 2013

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

If you have celebrated the civil rights for gay people in this past year, this book will give you a reminder of the prejudice and hatred to which gay people were once subjected.  Brunt places this family drama in 1986, during a time when President Reagan had never mentioned the AIDS epidemic, gay people were called "homos" and "queers" by the media as well as police, and judges cleared a courtroom due to the fear of catching AIDS from merely being in the same room.  The main character is a fourteen year old girl named June, whose favorite and only uncle is not only a famous artist, but is dying of AIDS.  Brunt explores not just one strand of the family dynamics, but all of the relationships that make up the idea of 'family' - June's complicated relationship with her older sister Greta, Uncle Finn's love and past history with his sister, and the friendship June forges with Finn's partner, Toby.  This is not a page-turning mystery nor a roller-coaster ride of a thriller.  It is not a neatly packaged, predictable family drama.  Tell The Wolves I'm Home reminds us of how far we have come in the decent treatment of all humanity and shows us what hatred and prejudice can do when we don't stand up for all who deserve basic civil rights.  This book starts out slow and easy, and brings it home strong; a beautiful, honest, at times heartbreaking read, I highly recommend this book.

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