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December 2017

Bream Reading Club Review ‘Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

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Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Total Stars out of 5: 2 Stars

Review by Reading Club member.

Having staggered through to the end of this book I thought that it was an extremely long-winded way of telling a very short story.

A rather naïve teenage girl is seriously manipulated by a deceased uncle into caring for his sick partner, who is similarly manipulated into caring for his late lover’s favourite niece. End of….

The background is unusual, being set in the 1980’s, when Aids was a full-on media subject, but what are we supposed to do about it? Are we supposed to reflection how far we’ve come since then both in medicine and in social attitudes? If so, Brunt doesn’t make a very convincing case and anyway, do we really want to go over all that again? It was a particularly unpleasant time and hopefully, we’ve lost our prejudices and have become more liberal without having to resort to fiction.

The best bits of the book are psychological studies of the two teenage girls, June the favoured niece and Greta the waspish elder sister. Devoid of parental interaction – both parents are both heavily engaged in the ‘tax season’ – they have more freedom that they can handle and the emotional ups and downs of June’s relationship with Toby, Uncle Finn’s dying partner, and Greta’s bitchiness towards her younger sister are long drawn out and irritating.

Both girls are believable characters however, and the reader does become anxious for the well-being of both of them as June descends into emotional confusion and Greta hits the bottle.

In fact the last few chapters really are the most interesting part, and spur the reader on to complete what is otherwise a tedious narrative.

I like reading circle books with discussion points at the end, but in this case the topics on page 370-1 are largely hypothetical. The three I really agree with are 3, 6 and 8. Finn was a psychological blackmailers, a manipulative user of both June and Toby.

All in the name of love? I really don’t think so.

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Books just for Christmas

The Lost Words – A Spell Book

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The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

From Acorn to Weasel: a gorgeous, hand-illustrated, large-format spellbook celebrating the magic and wonder of the natural world

All over the country, there are words disappearing from children’s lives. Words like Dandelion, Otter, Bramble, Acorn and Lark represent the natural world of childhood, a rich landscape of discovery and imagination that is fading from children’s minds.

The Lost Words stands against the disappearance of wild childhood. It is a joyful celebration of the poetry of nature words and the living glory of our distinctive, British countryside. With acrostic spell-poems by peerless wordsmith Robert Macfarlane and hand-painted illustrations by Jackie Morris, this enchanting book captures the irreplaceable magic of language and nature for all ages.

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New books this December

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