Tiger Eyes is a novel by Judy Blume published in 1981 and written for a teenage audience. The story revolves around a 15-year-old girl named Davey whose father was recently murdered. The family has a very difficult time coping with their loss, so they decide to stay with Davey's Aunt on the other side of the country. The novel contains several themes which are common among teenagers including the death of a parent, alcoholism, coping with a parent dating someone new, racism, relatives trying to encroach into your family, and falling in love. The book has been adapted into a movie with the same name.
After becoming a father, I started to re-read some of Judy Blume's work to find which of her works would be best to encourage my daughters to read, and I discovered that she wrote several adult and teenage novels as well. I read some of them and really liked them, so I decided to read more of her books including Tiger Eyes.
I do not own this book, but I have listened to an audio book (read by Emma Galvin). I finished it on 2019-05-27.
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The story, despite it depressing content, is really interesting and, at times, uplifting.
- Blume does a good job at covering a lot of teen issues without ever making them seem like caricatures.
- There is an important message of not letting terrifying things scare you into never taking a chance ever again.
- I like how Blume doesn't hide the overt racism of white Americans against Hispanics, even when they're living in a region that, by all rights, belongs to them. Blume herself lived in Los Alamos, New Mexico in the 1970s, so she probably experienced the racism firsthand.
- I really like how the book ends.
- I feel like a couple threads in the book, specifically the whereabouts of Wolf and Jane's alcoholism, were left unresolved.
- I feel like Blume missed a chance at some tension with Davey and alcohol. Davey never even considered using alcohol as a coping mechanism, the story mostly uses Jane as a cautionary tale.
- In Places I Never Meant to Be, Blume explained that she voluntarily censored a scene from Tiger Eyes in which Davey masturbates while thinking of Wolf in order to appeal to a larger audience. This is a shame, not just because I don't like when authors feel pressured to censor their work, but also because I really think it fits with the story. Davey, with nobody to turn to to comfort or friendship, would most certainly resort to an active fantasy life.
Tiger Eyes has been reprinted over a dozen times throughout the years. Most of the book covers depict a dismayed teenage girl with a canyon backdrop, which is generally fitting, though it doesn't really convey any specific message.
Mass Market, USA - Laurel Leaf
Slightly cross-eyed 90s teen is being stalked by Slater from Saved By the Bell. I like the collage, with the lizard and Native pattern, but the faces look terrible.
- "Some changes happen deep down inside of you. And the truth is, only you know about them. Maybe that's the way it's supposed to be."
- "I can't let safety and security become the focus of my life."