Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Review: Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

Title: Tiger Eyes
Author: Judy Blume
Publisher: Atheneum / Richard Jackson Books
Publication Date: 1981
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: 206
Source: Borrowed

Literary Awards:
Buckeye Children's Book Award for 4-8 (1983)
Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award (1985)

Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award (1983)
Iowa Teen Award (1985)
California Young Readers Medal for Middle/Jr. High (1983)

After Davey's father is killed in a hold-up, she and her mother and younger brother visit relatives in New Mexico. Here Davey is befriended by a young man who helps her find the strength to carry on and conquer her fears. 

Davey Wexler is reeling from the traumatic loss of her father. She cannot seem to get out of bed let alone cope, and when she starts fainting at school, her mother decides to move her and her little brother across the country to live with their aunt and uncle. Her aunt and uncle assume the role of stand-in parents as her mother loses herself more and more over the tragedy. Davey tries to assimilate into her new life and school, but as any teenager, she has problems being exactly what everyone wants her to be. 

This book really just reminded me of why I don't read contemporary novels very often. There isn't much of anything going on in them besides every day life and that pretty much bores me when it comes to books.
I do think this is a good story for teens that are trying to find ways to cope with their own problems, though. I always found it helpful to escape into someone else's life via books when I was a teenager. 

There were a few things in this book that caught my attention and reminded me of how different life is today compared to the 70's- 80's (which is when this book was published so I'm only assuming that that those are the decades it might be set in).
An example is that the main character, Davey, is fearful for her life and sleeps with a breadknife under her pillow and when she moves to her aunt and uncle's (arriving via airplane), she unpacks the same breadknife to put under her pillow. We definitely can't fly with breadknives anymore. 

Another example is that when she visits the school nurse after fainting the nurse hands her two aspirin and makes her take them. Even in my highs school days they weren't allowed to just hand out aspirin or Tylenol to kids and aspirin seemed to be this nurse's go-to 'cure' for lots of kids' ailments.
There's even one instance where Davey's overprotective aunt nonchalantly hands 15 year old Davey some Brandy to drink and no one seems to bat an eye. People would go nuts over this stuff these days. How the times have changed! 

I mostly decided to read this book because it was adapted into a movie and also because it has been challenged and 'banned' at some point in time. With 'Banned Books Week' coming up, it seemed like a good choice. 
I watched the film shortly after and I feel the need to point out that while Davey fancies herself 'in love' with Wolf (a 20 year old man that she meets) in the book, there is no 'hooking up' between them like there is in the movie. I felt like changing the movie to be a little more race-y might have helped their sales, but it was awkward and unnecessary. 

Overall, while I didn't quite enjoy it, I felt that this book had some 'troubled teen' themes that needed to be addressed such as loss of a parent, relocating to a new school and how that affects a teen, and some mild alcoholism. 

My Rating:

3 stars

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