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.
Since I first heard about this book until I read quite a few pages I was always asking myself what the title could mean. When I found out I was thoroughly impressed. I wasn’t impressed with the situation where the title is finally mentioned by one of the characters. What impressed me so much was the hidden meaning. What this sentence actually means, especially for the characters.
And that’s just one of a lot of small little details from this book that made me fall in love with the story even if it broke my heart.
After reading the synopsis you know it’s going to be a sad story. It’s a story about losing your best friend in the world, the one person who understands you, the one person you can be yourself with. When I started reading it I was glad that we don’t get to meet Finn first and that he then dies. Instead we start right with the fact about his death and get to know him through June’s memories. For me, that made it a lot easier. I still felt June’s grief and was sad throughout the whole book but it was a lovely way to meet Finn like this. All those wonderful days they spend together are worth being jealous. I always thought what a lucky girl June is, to have known someone as Finn while she can’t connect to her classmates or her sister.
When June meets the ‘strange man’ I thought it would get easier. Now that she knew someone who is just as broken as she is, it would get better. They wouldn’t be alone anymore, could talk about how much they miss Finn. Instead it got worse. Suddenly we get to know so many details about Finn’s life, details June didn’t know about. There are secrets revealed which could have made a grave difference if they had been known. But it’s not all sad, they still have some very fun times. But when everything came to an end this strange man was the reason why I cried. During the last pages I had to put the book down a while because I couldn’t see the words anymore.
What makes this such an emotional read is not only the fact that everything that’s happening is so sad but also this one topic that made me so extremely angry all the time. This ‘mysterious illness’ and how they deal with it made me want to punch someone in the face sometimes. How many people were suffering because they were not talking to each other or lying to each other. It was so frustrating. The thing is that all this felt so right, so real. I could relate to every single character. I could understand why they the behaved the way they did especially when thinking about the year this books plays in. On the one hand I was angry with certain characters because of things they did and on the other hand I thought I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
I think books that make me cry are always the best ones. And this book is one of the saddest stories I have ever read. You get to know these lovely characters who are all going through a really tough time and being able to relate to them, feeling so deeply connected to them makes it hard to deal with Finn’s death and the following story line. What made me not want to put down this book were those short precious moments they have in between. Moments filled with hope that everything is going to be alright.
“In the book A Wrinkle in Time, it says that time is like a big old rumpled blanket. What I’d like is to be caught in one of those wrinkles. Tucked away. Hidden in a small tight fold.”
“There’s just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special, even though you know you’re not.”
“And suddenly I understood that getting drunk was just one more way to leave this place, this time.”
“Sometimes it feels good to take the long way home.”
“You can build the whole world around the tiniest of touches.”
“Her tears tell the story of what she knows. That the past, present, and future are just one thing. That there’s nowhere to go from here. Home is home is home.”