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I was a kid in the 80s. My mum had a blood transfusion after complications during my birth. In 1987, when I was 7, I remember her receiving a letter asking her to have a blood test because the blood she was given had not been screened for AIDS. Thankfully it was negative. But I remembered, in a hazy seven year old way the fear of something that I had no concept of, but that it was scary.
This book was profoundly beautiful and sad. June's innocent love for these men in her life was strange, perhaps even hard to understand for some, but so hauntingly beautiful that despite its strangeness you can feel why she had to love these two special men and why her sister reacts to this fierce consuming friendship. The parallels in the relationships were poignant and provided a foreshadowing into June's and Greta's relationship; a cautionary tale.
And of course in the midst is the story of AIDS which is handled with astute gentleness. I can't help but feel Rifka Brunt gives the men of 80s a voice to those who have never heard or have forgotten this piece of sad and lonely history.
What I perhaps found the most shocking was the amount of autonomy the girls had; but I remembered a life in the 80s where parents did not hover and, as kids we were left to occupy ourselves. I can't give too much away, but at end of the novel my heart broke for the loss of Finn and Toby, and for what would become of these two young girls who at 14 & 15 have already seemed to live an entire life.
I loved this book and it will stay with me for sometime.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The story is about the end of the 80's and how AIDS was seen back then,
It's an important topic but it doesn't hit the spot.
The end is a bit too emotional but it's still a good listen.
Amy the narrator starts off a little robotic but then opens up wonderfully.
Any additional comments?
Yes that is 6 stars!
Narration was perfect, all of the characters were beautifully spoken and created with the narrators lovely voice. Thank you.
I finished this book last night at 1 o'clock in the morning, I couldn't not finish it.
With tears running down my face and proper ugly crying, I managed to get to sleep, but this was the first thing I thought of when I woke up.
This beautiful story is written in the voice of June, she is 14 and a little bit quirky, but she doesn't care what anybody else thinks, only Finn.
Finn is her uncle and she worships him, he is also quite a famous painter, and also dying of AIDS.
June knows this, as does the rest of her family, her sister Greta who is always mean to her but really just want her sister back, and her Mother Dani who doesn't really know what to do with June.
The story is set in 1987 when AIDS had just come on to the scene, and everybody was ignorant about it.
You remember when it was just a "Gay disease?" and people were careful about who they touched?
A couple of the things about that made me laugh, but then thinking back, it was actually like that. Rude ignorant people, not touching someone incase they caught "The AIDS"
After Finn dies, June has nobody that understands her, not like her uncle Finn, and she starts up an unlikely friendship with her uncles boyfriend Toby who she never knew before, and was and still is a secret.
The book is so beautifully written that I found myself going back to passages to re read.
This book will make you laugh, cry, and even break your heart a little, Please please read it, you must.