Monday, August 24, 2009

Male Monday: Tears of a Tiger

Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper 1994 Book 1 in the Hazelwood High Trilogy

Rating: 5/5

IQ "It seems like being' dead is the only way I'll ever feel alive again." Andy pg. 92

I don't think anyone can really fathom feeling the way Andy does in the above quote, unless they've been in a situation where they think death is better than life. Tears of a Tiger is a powerful read. A little old, but still so relevant.

Nov. 8 - Robert Washington, age 17, captain of the Hazelwood High School basketball team, was killed last night in a fiery automobile accident on I-75. Witnesses say the car, driven by Andrew Jackson, 17, also of the Hazelwood team, had been noticeably weaving across the lanes of the expressway just before it hit a retaining wall and burst into flames.

Tigers don't cry, or do they? After the death of his longtime friend and fellow Hazelwood Tiger, Andy, the driver of the car, blames himself and cannot get past his guilt and pain. While his other friends have managed to work through their grief and move on, Andy allows death to become the focus of his life. In the months that follow the accident, the lives of Andy and his friends are traced through a series of letters, articles, homework assignments, and dialogues, and it becomes clear that Tigers do indeed need to cry.

You know how in drivers ed they make you watch videos of the consequences of drunk driving over and over again (at least in my class, lots of blood and dead bodies, people in my class fainted, felt woozy or had to leave the room!)? Well just reading this book really teaches a lesson about the consequences of drunk driving. Instead of watching old, out-dated movies, teachers should have their students read this book. The result will be just as powerful as watching a video on drunk driving (although the visual effect of seeing all the death and destruction caused by driving while drunk is very, very effective. At least for me!). I'm seriously never going to drink and then drive. I would not be able to handle the guilt if I harmed anyone, especially one of my friends.

I really love Sharon Draper. This was my first realistic fiction book of hers (I'd previously only read Copper Sun and Fire From the Rock and I enjoyed them both immensely) and it did not disappoint. Her writing helps you to really connect with the characters. I sympathized with them, laughed with them and learned with them. Tears of a Tiger is made up of conversations, letters, diary entries and homework assignments. All these ways of communicating (instead of the usual chapter method) kept your attention. The most interesting stories were the ones from homework assignments, you learned a lot about the characters. Also Andy's conversations with his psychiatrist were really eye-opening.

My favorite character was either Rhonda or Gerald. Rhonda (one of Keisha's friends, Keisha is Andy's girlfriend) because she was blunt and called people out on their nonsense. I also liked Gerald because I thought his storyline was interesting. He turned back to God (previously he had stopped going to church) after the crash and his prayers were interesting to read and he never gave stopped trying out for the basketball team (year after year, even though he's too short!)

The ending was unexpected and yet slightly expected. I know that makes no sense!I thought the ending might happen, but I was really hoping it would turn out differently. This book was amazing. I'm sure it will stay with me for a long time. This is a pretty short review, but I just want to sum it up by saying! I can't wait to finish reading the Hazelwood High trilogy!


  1. That sounds really good, so I must try it. I love the male Monday fetaure by the way.

  2. The Hazelwood High Trilogy probably has the highest circulation of anything in my media center. Teachers love to teach it. Students, male and female, will read and re-read the books. They don't even consider reading a different Draper, they want the same books. Me, I don't like reading a book twice, I'm certainly not going to read a book twice. But, there is something about the comfort of the familiarity. Perhaps they find things they missed the first time.
    Good pick!

  3. Tears of a Tiger sounds like a powerful read. When I was a teen, a friend was killed in a car crash by a drunk teen driver. : (

    Thanks for posting this review!

  4. Mayra I'm so sorry (those words are so inadequate but I really am). I encourage all my friends not to do that and I think if every teen did that (and even read this book!) the drunk driving stats would lower.

    Campbele-I love to re-read books b/c like you said I may miss something the first time or I just really loved it :)

    Jodie- Glad you like it. Feel free to borrow it

  5. I love the idea of Male Monday. I'm also going to borrow it. I think I want to feature a male author of color though...

    Sharon Draper is the queen at our school and my school is the opposite of Edi's in racial makeup! She just writes in a way teens seem to "get"!

  6. In my library, we have multiple copies of the Hazelwood High Trilogy in our school and my favorite booktalks (meaning, the books fly off the shelves) are Tears of a Tiger and Forged by Fire. Many students as well as reluctant readers, love these books, talk about them and encourage their friends to read them...that is the sign of a great book with great meaning.

  7. by a 14 year old girl;
    tears of a tiger the the best book i have ever read in my life!!!! its amazing. its really sad but everything about it is like all true. most peoples lives are like that and i feel bad for them but tears of a tiger is a book that is strong. and its a book that should teach you that no matter what happens in life you will always have your friends and family by your side. and that you should learn to handle the things that happen becuase one day things will get better you just have to let time pass by. doing what andy did hurt everybody while they were still trying to get past what happened to rob. it was hard for andy but he should have keep going. my favoraite saying in that book was "it seem that being dead is the only way i can feel alive again" that quote tells alot. but being dead doesnt make you alive and later on it doesnt make you strong living through it makes you very strong and that when your alive. but anyways, tears of a tiger is the best book ever. i as a 14 year old girl advice everybody to read it. becuase me myself hates to read but the momment i picked up this book and began to read i could put it down.

  8. I absolutely hated this book. The writing style was confusing and the character development was awful. It took extreme will power to read it all the way through. I would never have read had it not been required reading.


I love to hear from you!! Thank you for sharing :) And don't be Anon, I try to always reply back and I like to know who I'm replying to ;)