Tuesday, 9 September 2014

#BookReview: Tell the Wolves I'm Home

I think it's pretty insane how out of all the books I'm reading, none of them are a disappointment and Tell the Wolves I'm Home is no exception.

First up the cover.

May I just first say that the illustrators did an amazing job and  these guys rarely get the credit they deserve, especially in  a world where we are allowed to do the otherwise frowned upon judge-a-book-by-its-cover move.

It's pretty hard to choose which is the best out of the two because once you've read the book, each cover effortlessly tells the whole story, of course one more clearer than the other but you be the judge of that.

The book is about June who is not your average teenage girl, for one she's mesmerized by the whole medieval era and has a negligible social circle. As if things cannot get any worse the apple of her eye, her uncle Toby cum godfather is dying of AIDS. June's world literally comes crushing down on her once it sets in that Toby won't be around much longer.

Toby happens to be a renowned artist and his last work would be a portrait of his nieces, June and her sister Greta who also happens to be going through a lot but hides this by pushing everyone around her away, mostly June.

The portrait and Toby's inevitable death serve as tools that will open chapters in June's life that she didn't even know existed.

While reading this book I could not help but think of other published works such as RENT and Philadelphia that address the same issue; AIDS. But what makes this book stand out, is that its from a whole new perspective. RENT and Philadelphia show AIDS from the perspective of the patient; the physical and emotional and any other type of pain these people go through as they die while Tell the Wolves the type of pain the affected go through. Not the wife or partner we are used to, although that too is there, but immediate family who usually in my opinion are painted out to pick up the pieces and move on or are not painted out at all.

Yet another thing that sets this book up there is that Toby had a life before and during his diagnosis. He had a story, a life. He didn't let the disease become him., if anything he put it aside.

But what took it all though was that all this AIDS stuff is seen through the eyes of an American teenager. This may sound rather odd, but when you are African or living in Africa, it's mostly made out to seem that this type of stuff only happens in the doomed-from-day-one dark continent and it's rather eye opening to see that this type of thing affects everyone and anyone.

If I was to sum it all up, raw would be the word. The ignorance at the time in regards to AIDS was at an all time high and Carol Rifka does a rather commendable job in showing that. The rawness is portrayed in all aspects, from June's teenage thoughts to Greta's downright mean attitude to the characters' lives the good and the bad.

I could go on and on about how intriguing this book is, but honestly you just have to pick it up and feel it for yourself. Through it all, I thought that it just was another documentation about someone with AIDS when really through June and Toby I understand that a person is a person despite their pasts or imperfections.

The only let down was that it left me with quite a number of unanswered questions, but what good book doesn't?

********* Thought that I'd just slip this in,  listening to the RENT soundtrack would be the best soundtrack to this book but "Who you love by John Mayer and Katy Perry" just took it all. But don't forget RENT's "Seasons of love".******

Okay bye! And Happy reading!

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