Tiger Eyes

Tiger Eyes Book Cover

Blume, J.(1981). Tiger Eyes. New York: Random House. Kindle.

Reader’s Annotation

After Davey’s family faces terrible tragedy they move across the country to recover from the shock. Davey finds solace in the most unlikely place and learns a lot about herself in the process.

Plot Summary

When Davey’s father is brutally shot and killed in their family’s corner store the structure of her family crumbles. Davey begins having panic attacks at school, her mother can barely hold it together and her brother refuses to take off his super hero cape. With everything crumbling around their shoulders Davey’s mom moves the family to New Mexico to recover from their loss. In New Mexico Davey’s overbearing aunt and uncle don’t help her feel any more anchored, indeed she feels more lost and alone that ever. As she explores the beautiful canyons of Los Alamos, Davey meets a strange young man who calls himself Wolf. As Davey’s friendship with Wolf develops, she and her family begin to heal and find that though she may carry the pain of her father’s death, she doesn’t have to be afraid. After all, “how we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”

Critical Evaluation

Tiger Eyes is a classic coming of age novel, the characters are strong and the pain the Davey and her family are attempting to cope with are palatable.

Author Information

Judy Blume is a prolific author of many adult, young adult and children’s novels. She’s been writing for over 40 years and is one of the most well loved writers in the field. Blume is known for writing about issues important to teens and adolescents like puberty, sexuality and divorce, which makes her work some of those most frequently challenged in libraries across the country.

Genre

YA Fiction, Coming of Age, Death, Family

Curriculum Ties

Supports literary response and analysis curriculum for grades 9 and 10:

3.3 Analyze interactions between main and subordinate characters in a literary text (e.g., internal and external conflicts, motivations, relationships, influences) and explain the way those interactions affect the plot.

3.4 Determine characters’ traits by what the characters say about themselves in narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, and soliloquy.

Booktalk Ideas

What is the canyon a metaphor for?

What are some of the main differences in parenting styles between Davey’s aunt and uncle and her own parents. How does Davey cope with these differences?

How does Davey’s relationship with Wolf change after she meets his father?

Reading Level/Interest Age 

13+

Challenge Issues

The violent death of Davey’s father may be offensive to some readers or their parents. The library’s continued support of the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights clearly demonstrates that we work against censorship and strive to include literature in our collection that appeals to every reader. This work fulfills those qualities because it tackles the very real issues of parental death and depression with sensitivity and intuitiveness. Additionally the book supports the California Department of Education curriculum as demonstrated by the subtleties in the relationships between Davey and the adults in her life, as well as her brother and Los Alamos friends.

Reason for inclusion

I included this book because I remembered reading it as a teenager and loving it. I think it’s a valuable novel for any teen struggling through the murky business of growing up, whether or not they have been forced to deal with a tragedy such as Davey’s.

References

Judy Blume. (2012). In J. W. Hunter (Ed.), Contemporary Literary Criticism (Vol. 325). Detroit: Gale. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CH1132910000&v=2.1&u=csusj&it=r&p=LitRC&sw=w

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