Tiger, Tiger
  • Tiger, Tiger
  • Tiger, Tiger

Tiger, Tiger

3.9 53
by Margaux Fragoso
     
 

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One summer day, Margaux Fragoso meets Peter Curran at the neighborhood swimming pool, and they begin to play. She is seven; he is fifty-one. When Peter invites her and her mother to his house, the little girl finds a child’s paradise of exotic pets and an elaborate backyard garden. Her mother, beset by mental illness and overwhelmed by caring for Margaux, is

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Overview

One summer day, Margaux Fragoso meets Peter Curran at the neighborhood swimming pool, and they begin to play. She is seven; he is fifty-one. When Peter invites her and her mother to his house, the little girl finds a child’s paradise of exotic pets and an elaborate backyard garden. Her mother, beset by mental illness and overwhelmed by caring for Margaux, is grateful for the attention Peter lavishes on her, and he creates an imaginative universe for her, much as Lewis Carroll did for his real-life Alice.

In time, he insidiously takes on the role of Margaux’s playmate, father, and lover. Charming and manipulative, Peter burrows into every aspect of Margaux’s life and transforms her from a child fizzing with imagination and affection into a brainwashed young woman on the verge of suicide. But when she is twenty-two, it is Peter—ill, and wracked with guilt—who kills himself, at the age of sixty-six.

Told with lyricism, depth, and mesmerizing clarity, Tiger, Tiger vividly illustrates the healing power of memory and disclosure. This extraordinary memoir is an unprecedented glimpse into the psyche of a young girl in free fall and conveys to readers—including parents and survivors of abuse—just how completely a pedophile enchants his victim and binds her to him.

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Editorial Reviews

Margaux Fragoso's jarring story of sexual abuse would be gripping even if it had not been so well-told. As Alice Sebold notes, Fragoso's portrayal of the 15-year relationship between pedophile Peter Curran is "shocking, revelatory, and fearless." The encounter of this uneven pair began with an innocent chat at a public pool in New Jersey: Margaux was seven; Curran was 51. With methodical escalations, he gradually coaxed the vulnerable child into imprisoning secret acts. In Tiger, Tiger, she documents the insidious impact of their continued liaisons on every aspect of her young life. Fragoso's unsparing self-exposure cuts to the heart of these violations.

Library Journal
When seven-year-old Margaux befriended 51-year-old Peter at the swimming pool, her troubled mother approved; he seemed like a good influence. Not so, as we find out in this large and eerie-sounding memoir; after an increasingly dangerous 15-year relationship, Fragoso barely escaped with her life. Sounds fascinating, though the proof will be in the reading.
Kirkus Reviews

Disquieting memoir about the 15-year relationship between a child and a predatory sexagenarian.

Fragoso's New Jersey childhood consisted of sharing a bed in a slummy, cramped one-bedroom apartment with her mentally ill mother and hard-drinking, Army-veteran father, who worked as a jeweler. She was just seven when she met 51-year-old pedophile Peter Curran at a public pool in 1985 and subsequently invited to his home. Hopelessly unaware of the inappropriateness of the arrangement, her naive mother joined her daughter on a series of visits to Curran's expansive house—an interactive, wide-eyed wonderland alive with his two young sons and a vast array of kid-friendly pets. A perfect escape from her family life, Fragoso's chaperoned (then solo) visits became more frequent as Curran drew closer and more physically daring. At first, he'd discreetly hug and kiss her in the basement, then coerced her into clumsy, manipulative sexual advances, labeling his actions as "something that people in love, like we are, do together." Eventually, Fragoso's perceptive father forbade her from visiting Curran, who continued to take in a random series of female foster children. But the carefree whimsy of the author's childhood had already fallen victim to Curran's premeditated manipulation. After reuniting with him two years later (as her mother's sanity deteriorated), Fragoso became withdrawn, increasingly codependent and cooperative during their sex games. In wincingly frank, graphic scenes, the author intricately details her harrowing evolution from a doe-eyed innocent girl to a broken, emotionally scarred victim who, at 22, was further crushed after receiving Curran's 10 handwritten suicide notes along with the key to his car. 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.

Kathryn Harrison
It's testimony to Fragoso's narrative abilities that she can render both her own and Curran's points of view convincingly, as different…Written without self-pity, rancor or even judgment, Tiger, Tiger forces readers to experience Curran simultaneously as the object of a little girl's love and fascination and as a calculating sex offender who cultivates her dependence on him while contriving to separate her from anyone who might prevent his molesting her. Balanced uncomfortably between these antipodes, Tiger, Tiger is the portrait of a man who will disgust and alienate readers by a writer too honest to repudiate her love for him.
—The New York Times
Lisa Bonos
Told in a voice that combines childlike wonder with grown-up wisdom…Fragoso manages to tell a disturbing story beautifully, leading readers into the secret world she inhabited for decades and even inspiring a modicum of sympathy for the man who manipulated and abused her.
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher

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

“A courageous memoir of sexual violation and a childhood not just stolen but obliterated…Fragoso shines a bright light of transformation into the darkest corners of an unthinkable (but all too common) past.” —Pam Houston, More

“Astonishing…Brilliantly reveals her as more than a survivor: First and foremost, Fragoso is an artist.” —Marie Claire

“Told in a voice that combines childlike wonder with grown-up wisdom…Fragoso manages to tell a disturbing story beautifully.” —The Washington Post

“Margaux Fragoso has a remarkable lyric gift.…At once beautiful and appalling, a true-life Lolita.” —New York magazine

“Her tale loops amazingly around her own coming-of-age and sets her down in adulthood with a transformative twist.…It breaks the mold.…An astonishing and heartbreaking drama.” —Elle

“Written without self-pity, rancor, or even judgment…Tiger, Tiger offers us yet another opportunity to open our eyes and redeem ourselves.” —Kathryn Harrison, The New York Times

“A born storyteller…A call for awareness, understanding, prevention, and healing.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Ms. Fragoso is a poet….The cosmic profundity of what she has experienced…is inextricable from her gift as a narrator and contemplator of her own experience.” —New York Observer

“There are some experiences that come laced with a sense of indelible influence---certain train rides that you know you'll remember forever even as they're happening.…Reading Tiger, Tiger produces one of those sensations.” —The Boston Globe

“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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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374277628
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
03/01/2011
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Margaux Fragoso recently completed a Ph.D. in English and creative writing at Binghamton University. Her short stories and poems have appeared in Literary Review and Barrow Street, among other literary journals.

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Tiger, Tiger 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this memoir- it is hard to gind books so eye-opening while at the same time still stories. Sometimes it was a little hard to stomach... but it was honest and held a lot of truth.
room145teacher More than 1 year ago
Fragoso gets caught in vice between her mentally abusive father and a pedophile with highly practiced manipulative skills.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book blew me away. It's gut-wrenching, dramatic, and impossible to put down. It made me cry. It made me open my eyes to this serious issue. If you have kids or will have them, you need to read this!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the book with the detailed and at times my stomach became tied in knots and I would pause than find myself opening it back up to continue to read it. I found myself reading Tiger Tiger until the end. Truly can understand at a child's point how this predator was actually someone she looked up too. Of course, the predator was so manipulative. I hoped that she would just stop wanted to see him,however, because of her family situation. Well I don't want to spoil the memoir. It's for sure an eye opener. Would recommend it. I feel the editing for this book was great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's rare to see the experience of sexual abuse told from the young woman's perspective. That alone makes this a profound and important work. What makes it truly amazing is that we too can experience all the varied emotions that it leaves in its wake. Many girls have to face abuse alone and in silence so it's great to see someone confront it with courage and strength.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am literally speechless. The bravery it took to relive and write this memoir is unfathomable
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HERE
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Impossible put down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pounces biteing it on the neck and killing it
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
What Amy Hammel-Zabin did in Conversations With a Pedophile, (by bringing her readers into the mind of a Pedophile), Dr. Fragoso does for the victim of such a predator.  Reading Dr. Fragoso’s account of the years she spent enthralled with a “caring” older (by 43 years) man is the stuff of nightmares, horror stories made so, and drastically compounded by, the fact of what she speaks was her reality. Few books have caused as intense reactions within me than those I experienced as I read this first person account of a victim of childhood sex abuse. When Margaux Fragoso was 7-years-old, while she and her mother were in a park near her home, a man (Peter, who is older than her father) asked if he could join in her play.  Within a year of that meeting, he commits his first violation of his new, trusting friend.  For the next nine years he took advantage of her father’s volatility and her mother’s mental illness to repeatedly violate the young Margaux. After his health became such that he could no longer harm her sexually, he continued to manipulate her into being convinced that he was the only one who could truly love her. It was only with Peter’s death that the author found the freedom to write of this relationship and to see what had actually occurred within that connection.   The book is a revelation of the experience of sex abuse.  The process Dr. Fragoso details is a classic example of what a victim of sex abuse becomes in order to survive this trauma.  She speaks graphically of some of her abuse and her internal processes, as well as her world-view, as they developed in response to the harm done to her, are difficult to grasp unless one has some experience of this kind of pain. Yet, because of an open writing style and ease of expression the reader has the ability to grasp some of this experience without having to face the author’s peril. My best friend (and wife) noted my dark mood the week I was reading this book, so deeply was I affected by its content.  By turns, I was angry, sickened, filled with dread, hopeful, hopeless, helpless and empowered as I progressed through its pages.  In my profession, I have sat with numerous victims of sexual abuse; I have heard their pain, witnessed their courage and admired their strength.  After this book, I feel a deeper sense of appreciation of these individuals.  To see how many of them have moved from “victim” to survivor to thriving in overcoming the evil done them gives me pause to be thankful and amazed; thankful for the opportunity to journey with them and amazed at these heroes. Fortunately, Dr. Fragoso did not remain a victim of her abuse. She overcame this trauma to earn a Ph.D. and to write a book that is a much needed resource. This book needs to be required reading for anyone in, or preparing for, the counseling or other helping profession.  It supports the research of the predatory behavior of Pedophiles; offers, both directly and by suggestion, how to protect children from such people, imparts insight into many of the behaviors of those who have been the prey of such individuals and gives first-hand (of a fashion) experience of sitting with those harmed.  Anyone who chooses to read this book needs to be aware of the pain they will experience as they “witness” the harming of a child.   This is NOT a book for children, it is a MUST read for anyone who has the responsibility to protect children. 
iluvvideo More than 1 year ago
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.
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LivieBelle More than 1 year ago
So entrapping
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