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Tell the Wolves I'm Home

by

Tell the Wolves I'm Home Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

1. Toby initiates a relationship with June that necessarily involves secrets kept from her parents. Can this ever be right? Is it ever okay for an adult to have a secret relationship with a child, even if it’s formed out of the best of intentions?

2. Every relationship in the book is tinged with jealousy and/or envy. How is this played out in each of the relationships? Can jealousy ever be a positive thing? Does loving someone too much always lead to jealousy?

3. How do you feel about Danni, June’s mother? How much is she to blame for the events in the book?

4. What did you make of June’s special feelings for Finn? Have you ever felt the wrong kind of love for someone in your own life?

5. “The sun kept on with its slipping away, and I thought how many small good things in the world might be resting on the shoulders of something terrible” (page 233). How does this speak to the events in Tell the Wolves I’m Home? Can terrible things like AIDS result in good?

6. “You get into habits. Ways of being with certain people” (page 206). Toby says this to June when they’re talking about her relationship with Greta. Many sisters (and brothers) have fractious relationships as teenagers, then grow up to be friends. Do you think that will be the case with Greta and June? Have you had an experience like this with your own sibling(s)?

7. If you remember the late eighties, do you remember anything about your perception of AIDS and the fear surrounding the disease?

8. How has society’s reaction to homosexuality changed over the last twenty-five years? How would this story have been different if it took place in 2012?

9. Greta is older, savvier, and knows more than June, but June sometimes seems wiser than her sister. How is this so? Does knowledge equal wisdom?

10. Do you think June will ever show Greta the secret basement room and the stash of Finn’s paintings, or will she always keep this to herself?

11.  Do you blame June for what happens to Toby toward the end of the book? Do you think June will ever forgive herself for what happened that night?

12.  Do you think the portrait was more beautiful before or after it was restored to its original state? Can a work of art be improved by external additions, or is the artist’s vision and intention the most important aspects of art?

13. June would like to escape to the Middle Ages. All her favorite places are escapist in nature. Would June actually be happy if her wish of time travel were granted? How does that wish change over the course of the story? Is escapism ever valuable? How do you escape?

14. Of all the themes in the novel (love, loss, regret, family relationships, etc.), which one do you think is the most important and why?

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Beverly B, June 15, 2013 (view all comments by Beverly B)
Carol Rifka Brunt's debut novel is one of the most powerful books I've read in a long time. Tell the Wolves I'm Home is a beautiful and unforgettable story of a young teen in the 1980's whose favorite uncle is sick with a mysterious new virus no one knows anything about, but everyone fears. For those of us old enough to remember the 1980's, it is a reminder of a grim time in our history "..all the jealousy and envy and shame we carried was our own kind of sickness. As much a disease as Toby and Finn's AIDS." Carol Rifka Brunt did not intend Tell the Wolves I'm Home to be a YA coming of age novel, but 14 year old June's emotional journey from devoted, confused, innocent child to courageous and angry rebel teen will resonate with YA readers. Adults will connect with all of the conflicted relationships in the story.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780812982855
Author:
Brunt, Carol Rifka
Publisher:
Dial Press
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;aids;coming of age;sisters;1980s;new york;family;new york city;grief;art;death;artists;uncle;young adult;relationships;secrets;family relationships;love;ya;bildungsroman;siblings;contemporary;contemporary fiction;homosexuality;loss;lgbt;painting;r
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20130631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8 x 5.17 x 1.03 in 0.75 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Staff Picks
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Coming of Age
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life

Tell the Wolves I'm Home Used Trade Paper
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Product details 384 pages Dial Press - English 9780812982855 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , US
"Synopsis" by , NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY

The Wall Street Journal • O: The Oprah Magazine • BookPage • Kirkus Reviews • Booklist • School Library Journal

 

NAMED A FAVORITE READ BY GILLIAN FLYNN

 

WINNER OF THE ALEX AWARD

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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