Greta, written by Carol Rifka Brunt

Just a reminder, spoilers below!

I just finished Tell the Wolves I’m Home earlier this week (I’ve been not-so-great with finishing my audiobooks of late, letting them linger and listening in spurts every other week). I cannot recommend it enough, and I had a difficult time selecting one of the female characters to portray – protagonist June, her sister Greta, or their mother (who may get her own post on a re-listen, TBH).

Ultimately, I picked Greta. She’s stubborn and a bit of a firecracker, and while the story focuses primarily on June’s narrative, I thought Greta upstaged her younger sister in their shared scenes. Somewhat fitting, given Greta is a talented young actress known for stealing the show.

Greta straddles the line between sympathetic and obnoxious. She toggles between her mother and her younger sister June, particularly in how she reacts to Uncle Finn’s death from complications due to AIDS. We find out that Greta knew of their uncle’s diagnosis long before June. Why? Because their mother caught Greta using Finn’s chapstick, the same one he used to treat his cracked, bleeding lips that winter. June isn’t afraid of Finn, or his lifestyle, and her lack of fear and status as favorite exacerbate a rift between the two sisters.

Greta pokes. Greta prods. She sneaks and sabotages. For all her bravado, her bold, brash act, she’s hurting. Her sister is growing apart. Her mother is pushing her into a career path she doesn’t know if she wants. There’s something so universal about Greta – that wounded way she lashes out but still hopes for the best.

Thanks for reading! What do you think of Greta? 

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5 thoughts on “Greta, written by Carol Rifka Brunt

  1. Lynn @ Smoke & Mirrors says:

    This is one of my favorite books! I loved it! Greta was a great character. Although her character wasn’t necessarily ‘front and center’ all the time, she was a strong presence and I felt she provided a counterpoint to June in many ways, creating more tension and providing more diversity. This one made me cry…more than once. And I loved the painting!! 🙂 (No spoilers…) I did review it:


    • Justice says:

      Their juxtaposition was so well done. I’m an only child, but I recognized a lot of my friends’ relationships with their own sisters throughout. There were such beautiful glimpses of universal bonds in the book.


      • Lynn @ Smoke & Mirrors says:

        Agreed! And, like you, I am also an only child, so am always interested in knowing from others who have read certain books who are NOT only children and DO have siblings, whether they felt the relationships were accurately depicted. This was one where I asked our book club members and they agreed it was realistic. 🙂 Amazing what we can glean from reading, isn’t it?


    • Justice says:

      I feel like Greta’s going to be that fabulous neighbor or aunt who, on occasion, still drinks screwdrivers at breakfast and will give you tipsy life advice whether you asked for it or not.


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