Tiger Tiger by Margaux Fragoso

This book came highly recommended to me by a family member. “You must read this,” she said, “it’s so good. I couldn’t put it tiger tigerdown.” That said, I still resisted the book for several months because of the subject matter.

Tiger Tiger is Margaux Fragoso’s memoir documenting her childhood years when she fell prey to a pedophile. While disturbing, I too found the book very compelling and read it in a single weekend. However it wasn’t the subject matter that held me. The book was so well done I just had to finish it.

I think we can all agree that child molesters are the worst brand of evil and Peter Curran was one of the most insidious of his kind. He first met Fragoso at the neighborhood community pool when she was aged seven. Because she already had an unhappy home life and was starved for affection, Fragoso was immediately drawn to Curran’s attention as he carefully manipulated his way into her family dynamic, slowly sneaking the abuse in under the very nose of Fragoso’s mentally ill mother and alcoholic father.

Fragoso’s childhood coping mechanisms of storytelling and withdrawing into her own made up fantasy world shed light on how she was able to write so beautifully later on. I can best describe her style as…healthy. The level of acceptantance with which she tells her real life story actually made it easy for me to take. She began the book in her early twenties, shortly after Curran died, but did not finish it until several years later. My guess is she went through many years of healing and while I would certainly read anything else from her in the future I would be most interested in her story of recovery.

While I did enjoy this book I feel funny about recommending it to anyone. The few people I discussed it with immediately dismissed the book due to its subject matter which is perfectly understandable. However, if you are willing to give it a try you may be surprised as I was to find that Tiger Tiger is not a story evil but rather hope.

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