Sunday, September 22, 2013

Retro Sunday-- Tiger Eyes

I've been enjoying the Old School posts at Secrets and Sharing Soda as well as at Lost Classics of Teen Lit, so when I saw that Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes (1981) was being made in to a movie, I knew I had to read the book again. Interestingly, I got rid of two copies just last spring, mainly because one was a thirty year old prebound copy, and the other was a rebound hardcover with no dust jacket and they both smelled bad. It's hard to get girls to read Blume now, but fresh copies with updated covers do wonders. Since there is an entire box of about 75 paperbacks in our book room, though, instead of buying a copy, maybe I'll just give a paperback to anyone who asks for one!

11915342Blume, Judy. Tiger Eyes (1981)

After Davey's father is shot and killed during a robbery at the convenience store in Atlantic City where he worked, Davey's mother and younger brother move to Los Alamos, New Mexico to be with their Aunt Bitsy and Uncle Walter, who never had a family. Davey's mother is distraught and suffers headaches, and Davey has trouble adjusting to school and life away from her boyfriend and best friend.  While biking and hiking in a canyon near her new home, Davey meets a boy she knows only as Wolf, and he helps her come to terms with her situation. She also meets Jane, a borderline alchoholic, who encourages Davey to try out for the school play. Davey is worried about her brother, the fact that her mother is dating one of the scientists at the Los Alamos lab where she has gotten a job, and is still traumatized by the violent death of her father. She also isn't fond of being under the control of her aunt and uncle. After she takes a job as a Candy Striper in the local hospital, she meets Wolf again and finds out more information about him.
Strengths: You know that this was handed out all the time during the 80s as bibliotherapy for girls dealing with the death of a parent. Pair with Lowry's 1977 A Summer to Die! Maybe this will encourage a new generation to explore Blume's work.
Weaknesses: While this holds up better than expected, some of the cutting edge Blume tactics seem odd now-- Jane's alcoholism seems tossed in just for effect, Davey throws in random comments about cliques or sex, and there are some things that should be cleaned up in a reissue-- Davey at one point asks her brother Jason why he's "wearing that faggy apron" (page 172), which he probably wouldn't do if  Mom weren't out working. Davey opines that "It seems to me that she would have more purpose by being a real mother to Jason and me." (page 162) I also thought that the character of Wolf was rather inconsequential.

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