SPOILER ALERT!

Completed January 5, 2014 (first review of the year!)

Tell the Wolves I'm Home: A Novel - Carol Rifka Brunt

REVIEWER NOTE:  this was going to be my very first one-star review, but I just couldn't do it.  I don't regret reading this book.  I don't regret that a friend from a Goodreads book club chose it for me so that it might read it as part of a challenge.  I just wish it had been better developed and more authentic.

 

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Dear Danielle,

 

By now, you'll have heard from my lawyers, so you know what my plans are.  You're probably feeling confused, perhaps even bewildered.  This must seem to come out of the blue.  But I'm not having a mid-life crisis, Dani.  I'm re-examining my life.  You should give some thought to doing the same.

 

I told you I was going to a retreat for burned-out professionals.  That wasn't true.  In fact, I'm undergoing some pretty intense therapy at an in-patient centre on the West Coast.  I need to understand why I enabled your destructive behaviour for all these years.  I don't like the person you've become, Dani.  I am especially devastated by the price you've forced others to pay - Finn, Toby, our precious girls.  You've done damage that can never be repaired, and I can't talk to you face-to-face about any of it because your modus operandi is to humiliate anyone who questions your decisions.

 

i've been a fool - and what's worse, I've been a coward.  For years, I've silently watched our daughters pull away from each other, bit by bit, without saying a word in protest.  I watched you pit them against each other, encouraging divisive competition, comparing them unfavourably, seemingly doing everything in your power to drive a wedge so deep they'd never free themselves.  The fact that they are slowly finding their way back to each other is a testament to their own courage and to the influence of two marvellous men - your brother Finn and his partner Toby.

 

Did you ever stop to think, Dani?  Two men, dying of a disease they acquired because sadly, theirs is a love that still to this day, dares not speak its name.  They deserved to have time.  Time with each other.  Time with the girls.  Time to say goodbye.  But you selfishly took that from them.  June has come to believe that saving her sister's life was what?  Murder?  Treachery?  Toby was out in those woods that night because of events you set in motion.  Greta was there in a raging thunderstorm because of what you could not face.  Love isn't meant to be locked in a vault, Dani.  It's meant to be shared, openly, freely, honestly.  I pray I haven't learned that lesson too late.  I pray June and Greta can forgive themselves for what amounted to little more than falling into a trap set for them by their own mother.

 

So, as you know by now, our marriage is over, and I've taken steps to dissolve our professional relationship as well.  I've been the invisible man for so long I barely know my own name anymore.  I've been subject to a code of silence, and the only way to break the code is to uncover the pattern and vow not to repeat it.  This is the first step on a long and winding road.  But I won't walk alone.  My girls will be with me in spirit.  I have much to atone for where they are concerned.

 

Wake up, Dani.  You thought you lost everything that mattered when Finn left home all those years ago?  You stand to lose much more if you don't try to examine what makes you lash out, what compels this punitive side of your character that threatens to destroy our daughters.  It will destroy you too, Dani.  Perhaps it already has.  You have so much to offer the world.  Go out there and make it happen.  It's your turn now.

 

With deep regret,

 

CHRISTOPHER