Tiger, Tiger

Tiger, Tiger

[a Memoir]

Book - 2011
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One summer day, Margaux Fragoso swam up to Peter Curran at the public swimming pool and asked him to play. She was seven; he was fifty-one. In time, he insidiously takes on the role of Margaux's playmate, father, lover and captor. Charming and repulsive, warm and violent, loving and manipulative, Peter burrowed into every aspect of Margaux's life and transformed her from a girl fizzing with imagination and affection into a deadened, young-old woman on the brink of suicide. Margaux Fragoso has unflinchingly explored the darkest episodes of her life, helping us see how pedophiles work hidden away in the open to steal childhood. Library Journal says "Fragoso manages to elicit dignity and humanity from the most depraved souls to tell an unforgettable survivor's story." There is a huge buzz about this book already.
Publisher: Vancouver, B.C. : Douglas & McIntyre, c2011.
ISBN: 9781553658559
Characteristics: 322 pages ;,24 cm.


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Aug 25, 2017

When I finished this book and began to ponder my review, I remembered a long ago time when, as a teenager full of unexpressed feelings, I was telling my very practical if unreflective mother about some deeply angsty movie I had seen and my mother, with a sigh, asked me "why would you want to go see such a sad movie?" I suppose the same can be asked about reading a troubling memory documenting ongoing childhood sexual and emotional abuse. I picked it up on a recommendation for memoirs, almost put it down several times because of the disturbing nature of the content and occasional disappointment with the writing, and finally finished with some satisfaction at having seen the story through to the conclusion. That is a long way of saying that the book has some strength and weaknesses, but ultimately a person considering this title should be aware that the content will be a real challenge for most people and that should be a factor in deciding whether this is a book you wish to pursue.

The two main factors that led to my decision to award Ms. Fragoso's memoir with three stars relate to the value of what I learned about the relationship between a young child and a pedophile, which made the book worthwhile for me, and the quality of the writing, which was only partly effective for me. I have been an educator all my life, working across a wide span of ages and with very different populations. My several years of work as a sex positive outreach educator and my work with youth and families in early childhood education, means I have met with a number of survivors go both dysfunctional families and abuse. I have read quite a bit about the factors that make some children particularly vulnerable targets for sexual abuse. The story shared in "Tiger, Tiger" provides an excellent illustration of many of the factors cited in more academic studies, including emotional neglect in the home, and that is one of the books main strengths. I can imagine recommending this title to other people working with survivors, families, and children, especially if they are in the teaching and healing professions. I can also imagine using this title as a supplementary teaching tool in a child psychology class, or other class where a story can deliver the punch than more abstract descriptions of sexual abuse may lack.

The writing was another story for me. First, the book failed as a more meaningful memoir as the writing comes to a rather abrupt close following the death of the abuser. This robs the story of a much more powerful arc that could have been achieved by extending the writing into how the author comes to terms with such a distorting start in life. The book itself may very well have been part of that reconciliation, but I wished for a more direct description of the affect of her experience, not to tie things up with a neat bow, but as a reflection on the aftermath of such a childhood. Secondly, I was troubled by the more flowery language used in the beginning of the book. I imagine this was an attempt to portray the childlike thinking of the young girl as she first meets her abuser, but I found it off putting. About midway through the book, as the author begins to describe her middle school years, she develops a very the clear eyed, straightforward voice in describing her external and internal world that really fits the narrative and the seriousness of the material much better. I would be less inclined to recommend this title to someone who enjoys the reflective nature of the memoir form.

I enjoyed this book less as a reader and more as a professional involved in both sex education and in early childhood development. I would describe this book as less of a full memoir and more as a powerful case study, offering insight into both the psychology of the victim and the abuser in cases of long term childhood emotional and sexual abuse.

jeana12 May 23, 2017

Even though the subject matter of this book is highly disturbing , it is so well written , you cannot put this book down. Totally poetic mixed with such honesty , it's almost unbelievable. Kudos to the author for such bravery in her writing.

WVMLStaffPicks Sep 05, 2014

In this book, Margaux Fragoso reveals her 15-year relationship with a pedophile. She was 7 and he 51 when he befriended her and became her constant and almost solitary companion. Their relationship was rarely questioned by her dysfunctional family or other acquaintances. Although he was the sexual predator, they became dependent on each other for emotional support and friendship. This is a disturbing but important read.

Dec 04, 2012

An amazing memoir of the author's youth and adolescence and her relationship with her friend, the pedophile. That's right. FRIEND!
In this book Ms Fragoso does the unthinkable. She brings us inside her relationship with Paul, a friend to Margaux's mother and herself, who groomed her from age eight to become a sexual partner for himself at the time almoast 60!
Probably the most chilling aspect is that Paul is not your drooling, raincoat wearing, pervert. He places himself in the path of this family, an abusive father, mentally ill mother and fragile Margaux herself. She wants love from an adult she can depend on.
What she gets is a form of attention, which she experiences as love that Paul insinuates himself in her life to the point Margaux believes in their mutual love, that an uncaring world would never understand and so must be kept secret.
Mom, Dad and just about every adult in this story seems not to see (or acknowledge) the terrible things happening to Margaux. Yes of course the sex games, but also Margaux's depression, confused self image and ultimate belief that she will marry Paul and live happily ever after!
But like almost any relationship built upon lies and deception, it begins to unravel. And Margaux remains a dedicated friend to Paul until the climax where she becomes painfully aware of the awful truth of the relationship.
Margaux writes this tale in brutal first person remembrance. No one is spared, no detail is too gruesome as to be avoided. Eventually she comes to terms with her past and starts building a life of her own, college, husband and family. But there is never the day of reckoning for the pedophile. He sickly, slickly gets away without societal judgement and sanction of his acts. There is no big payoff. No conclusion. And that only makes this scarier ans more plausible still.

Jul 02, 2012

A very engaging, although disturbing, book.

Jun 08, 2012

The author's culpability to her own abuse is an interesting perspective. My skin is still crawling from what she endured. I guess creating/faking your own power can be a coping mechanism. Not a read for the faint-of-heart.

Nov 25, 2011

a must read.a startling new perspective.reading groups check this one

BookDiva May 20, 2011

By far the most disjointed, uncommited memoir I've ever read. Although terribly horrific to read what a young(and older) Margaux went through, her writing style was so matter of fact I found myself reading in disbelief at her lack of emotional attachment to any of the books details and core story.
This memoir is hard to take at times, recounting the years of sexual and emotional abuse endured by a young girl by her parents, as well as her "friend" Peter. Although the story is hard to take at times, and made my stomach turn in several places I found the writing style difficult to wade through.
When I finished this book, I was relieved rather than wanting more...which is what I usually want in a book.

debwalker Mar 05, 2011

Seering abuse memoir.
"Children deprived of love and kindness are vulnerable to adults who can mimic love in order to exploit them. This is the “message” of Margaux Fragoso’s memoir, although it’s a book that doesn’t need one. The honesty of the author’s account, told in the sort of visceral, child’s-eye detail that only trauma can preserve, draws the reader into the skewed logic of their world, until we forget how this story is bound to end."
Marni Jackson
Globe & Mail
March 5, 2011

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Jan 31, 2018

MelissaBee thinks this title is suitable for 21 years and over


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