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Tiger, Tiger: A Memoir Hardcover – March 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374277621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374277628
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this gut-wrenching memoir of sexual abuse, Fragoso, who has written short stories for various literary magazines, explores with unflinching honesty the ways in which pedophiles can manipulate their way into the lives of children. Fragoso met Peter Curran at a public pool in Union City, N.J., in 1985 when she was seven and he was 51. He seemed harmless, and invited Fragoso and her mother back to his house. This marked the beginning of Curran and Fragoso's 15-year relationship, which ended when Curran committed suicide at age 66. Fragoso's home life was strained—her mother was in and out of psychiatric wards and her father was an alcoholic—and Curran's home, with its myriad pets and lack of rules, became her refuge. The sexual abuse began slowly, progressing to oral sex in Curran's basement, an act that he requested as a "birthday present." Fragoso's sense of alienation—Curran controlled her world for more than half her life—is palpable in her telling. Using her own diaries and the myriad letters, diaries, and photographs Curran left behind, Fragoso eloquently depicts psychological and sexual abuse in disturbing detail. (Mar.)
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Review

Praise for Tiger, Tiger

Tiger, Tiger will start a thousand conversations. Margaux Fragoso achieves the unthinkable with empathic clarity: she humanizes a pedophile. In doing so, she makes his crime unimaginably more frightening. Her portrayal of their relationship is shocking, revelatory, and fearless. As the story of a victim, it is gripping; as a work of literature, it’s a triumph.” —Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones

“In this gut-wrenching memoir of sexual abuse, [Margaux Fragoso] explores with unflinching honesty the ways in which pedophiles can manipulate their ways into the lives of children . . . Fragoso’s sense of alienation—Curran controlled her world for more than half her life—is palpable in her telling. Using her own diaries and the myriad letters, diaries, and photographs Curran left behind, Fragoso eloquently depicts psychological and sexual abuse in disturbing detail.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Disqueting . . . Culled from the four diaries she kept during the ordeal, Fragoso writes with searing honesty about her serpentine entanglement and of Curran’s calculated, menacing exploitation of her. Intensive psychotherapy and new motherhood provide a hopeful coda to her unspeakable experience. A gripping, tragic and unforgettable chronicle of lost innocence and abuse.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“You may think you’ve already decided about a child’s ordeal with a sexual predator, but under Margaux Fragoso’s command you will consider the richest depths of experience, terrible, bright, and beautiful. Fragoso writes with unguarded grace and provides a voice—real and haunting—for those children, everywhere among us, who are deprived of theirs.” —Susanna Sonnenberg, author of Her Last Death

Tiger, Tiger is stunning, in all the possible manifestations of that word.” —Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

“Once in a generation, an essential book—a necessary book—comes along and challenges our bedrock assumptions about life. Margaux Fragoso’s Tiger, Tiger is that book. Family life, the corruption of innocence, sexual abuse, pedophilia—all are unflinchingly yet exquisitely rendered as Fragoso experienced them. You will never view childhood the same way after reading Fragoso’s monumentally important book.” —Louise DeSalvo, author of Writing as a Way of Healing


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Customer Reviews

It's a good book, very well written.
C. Campedelli
The author, Margaux Fragoso, tells her story in much detail.
Gary from Pa.
If you think there is something wrong, report it!
Kelly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the most visceral and heartfelt books I have ever read. It is a brave and painful book, difficult to read but beautifully wrought. From the time she was eight years old, Maugaux Fragoso was sexually abused by a man named Peter who is 51 years old when he meets her. The abuse lasts for years and years. Peter grooms Margaux, enchanting her with his home that is filled with animals like hamsters, iguanas, a dog and rabbits. He plays with her as if he was a child. He charms her, acts like a father and pretends to give her unconditional love. However, all this time he is truly a predator, attempting to begin the sexual abuse that is initiated in earnest when Margaux is eight years old.

Margaux becomes completely dependent on Peter and believes that he is the only one in the world that loves her. At times, however, she acts out in ways that indicate she has been abused but the adults in her life do not take notice. She has fugue states, terrible anger issues, spends the nights with Peter. Margaux's mother is seriously mentally ill and encourages her relationship with Peter. Her father is physically and emotionally abusive to Margaux and to her mother. Her father, at one point, suspects that Margaux is being sexually abused, but shows no empathy. In fact, if she were to admit her abuse, he'd put her on the street. When Margaux is in high school, a social worker is called in because people in the neighborhood are suspicious of Margaux's relationship with Peter but she defends him. It is not that different from Stockholm Syndrome.

As a therapist, I understand the trauma that Margaux was experiencing and her need to believe that Peter was her love. "I was Peter's religion" she says.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Story Circle Book Reviews on June 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When Margaux Fragoso's memoir came to my attention, my first impulse was to avoid it. In these times of awful news and crass motives, I was not inclined to give further attention to the subject--pedophilia--or the possibly exploitive author and her publisher. Then I read the first dozen pages and realized Fragoso could write. I noted that her publisher was the fine Farrar, Straus and Giroux. I wondered if my reluctance was narrow, or even fearful. Eventually I knew I would disappoint myself, and possibly miss an opportunity to read a good book, if I didn't give Tiger, Tiger a try. Soon, despite some negative reviews, I was deep in the story.

With a mentally ill mother and a mean-spirited, alcoholic father, lonely seven-year-old Margaux meets fifty-one-year-old Peter at a local swimming pool. He is playing with the sons of his roommate, and they give the appearance of a happy family. Impulsively, she asks to play with them and is immediately welcomed. Soon, Peter invites Margaux and her mother over to his house, where they meet the extraordinary menagerie that he tends, including a small caiman crocodile who falls asleep as Peter rubs its belly. This animal whisperer soon has both mother and daughter charmed as well. Before long they are visiting Peter twice a week. He offers Margaux tremendous freedom at his home, and though she doesn't like what feels like pushiness in him, she revels in the liberty. When her mother complains about and makes fun of her father, Margaux joins in, Peter sympathizes, and the father is set as the outsider, excluded from their fun.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Margaux Fragoso was in an abusive relationship with a sexual predator for 15 years, from age 7 to 22, and now some 10 years later she writes her memoir about what it was like. I had read a number of great reviews about this book, and decided to pick it up recently, even though I knew the topic is painful and it would likely make for devastating reading. I was right on the latter.

In "Tiger, Tiger" (322 pages), the author retells the story of her 15 year relationship with a man called Peter, who befriended her at age 7 while she was in a dysfunctional family, and eventually corraled her into a sexual abusive relationship. You might ask why didn't she stop it as she grew older, but you need to read the author's account to truly understand. What struck me the most about reading this book is how "objective" the author brings the story. She at first seems not to blame Peter for what happened to her. But in the book's Afterword, she comes out and does point out what a sexual predator Peter in fact was, and asks for solutions: "It is true that strict enforcement of current penalties such as prison time for sex offenders is a vital part of the solution. Unfortunately, most pedophiles would be hard-pressed to find treatment options before a conviction as occurred".

It appears that the author has moved on with her life, as apparently she is now married and has a daughter. The very last lines of the book bring a ray of hope: "I make up stories for my daughter just as my father has done for me when I was her age. Some family traditions I keep; others must end with me". Wow. The author took an incredible leap of faith coming out and telling her painful story. I hope that lessons can be learned from it.
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