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
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 get.this.book! I can't wait to finish reading the Hazelwood High trilogy!