Imitate the Tiger

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Overview


Chris Serbo loves to play football. "I've played football so many years, it's instinct to me. . . . I know the rules and I know the chaos. . . . There is nothing more satisfying than hitting someone with all your force. . . . When all else fails, I know how to play football." But Chris Serbo has some problems--and one of them is that he drinks to hide from the other problems. In this powerful story of a high school senior trying to find some hope and meaning in his life, author Jan Cheripko gives us a look at ...
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Overview


Chris Serbo loves to play football. "I've played football so many years, it's instinct to me. . . . I know the rules and I know the chaos. . . . There is nothing more satisfying than hitting someone with all your force. . . . When all else fails, I know how to play football." But Chris Serbo has some problems--and one of them is that he drinks to hide from the other problems. In this powerful story of a high school senior trying to find some hope and meaning in his life, author Jan Cheripko gives us a look at the personal struggles of Chris Serbo as he battles against those trying most to help him: his aunt, his coach, his history teacher, his friends, and even a few enemies.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A high school football player struggles with alcohol dependency and ends up at a rehab school for teenagers. Ages 12-up. Aug. r
Children's Literature - Rebecca Joseph
In Cheripko's first young adult novel, we meet Chris Serbo who is describing events that led to his being placed in a rehabilitation program for alcoholics. A high school senior, Chris loves to play football more than anything else, but even the camaraderie of his football team and a championship season cannot compensate for his internal emptiness. Alcohol becomes Chris' way of trying to forget his unhappiness. As Chris' life deteriorates, we see his defensiveness as people try to help him. Cheripko brings his experience as a teacher of at-risk children into this novel, which shows no mercy for Chris and in doing so creates a fascinating portrayal. The story provides a unique view into the life of a young man in crisis. ABA Pick of the Lists.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 UpChris Serbo, a senior, is an outside linebacker for the Valley View High School Dragons. He is also an alcoholic. His first-person story is revealed in two ways. Before each chapter, a brief italicized account tells what's going on in the present as Chris grapples with the Twelve Steps and, after football season is over, tries to finish high school at a rehabilitation facility that he's been forced to enter. In the main body of the novel, the troubled teen recounts his championship season with the Dragons, along with the downward spiral his personal life took due to his drinking. Cheripko portrays a young man whose mother died when he was five and whose absentee, career-military father is a drunk. Chris's two main pleasures, football and partying, are intimately detailed in the story. While the signs of dependency are all around himfalling grades, lies, losing friendsChris remains firmly in a state of denial. Only toward the very end of the book does he show that he might be ready to face up to his problems. While the locker-room lingo and dialogue are presented in a mild manner, the author doesn't hold back in describing Chris's stupefying behavior during his weekend binges. A frank account of an at-risk teen fighting for his life.Tom S. Hurlburt, La Crosse Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
In Cheripko's first novel, a high school senior stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that he's an alcoholic. All the signs are there: Christopher Serbo's grades are plunging, his girlfriend has called it quits, and home life with his aunt is a series of battles and deceptions. He's constantly angry and depressed, feeling out of control and unable to change. Only on the football field does Christopher find relief, and even there, as his team marches through its first undefeated season, the new coach presses him relentlessly. Christopher describes his episodes of drunkenness with brutal precision, becoming an embarrassing, pathetic figure. When his drinking becomes an open secret, his coach and a concerned teacher work out a deal that allows Christopher to finish the season and report immediately to a full-time rehabilitation program.

Cheripko gives readers a glimpse of the new school's tough love approach that enables Christopher to admit that he has a problem, embark on a 12-step program, and realize that he does have the courage to help himself. If the plotting is a bit shaky—Christopher heals from a vicious beating with miraculous speed, and a deathbed scene with Aunt Catherine melodramatically ties up a loose end—Christopher's behavior, and the reasons for it, are laid out clearly enough, and the point that rules unjustly bend sometimes for a successful athlete is well taken.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563977053
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Jan Cheripko is the author of Voices of the River: Adventures on the Delaware. He also teaches English at The Family School, a private school for at-risk teenagers in upstate New York. Jan lives in Bethany, Pennsylvania.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2001

    Imitate the Tiger

    It focus' on the life of a young teenager who struggles to keep his grades and dealing with the pressures of Alcohol while playing football for his high school.It deals with many real issues that young readers can realate to as those who play high school sports.Jan uses analogy and diction to set the motif of the essay and embeds realistic images of football status as well as dealing with problems with friends and alcohol.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2001

    Imitate the Tiger

    It focus' on the ife of a young an who struggles to keep his grades up and playing football for his school.It deals with many real issues that young readers can realate to as those who play high school sports.Jan uses analgy and diction to set the mtif of th essay and embed realistic images of football status as well as dealin with pressures of alcohol.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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