One summer day, Margaux Fragoso meets Peter Curran at the neighborhood swimming pool, and they begin to play. She is seven; he is fifty-one. When Peter invites her and her mother to his house, the little girl finds a child's paradise of exotic pets and an elaborate backyard garden. Her mother, beset by mental illness and overwhelmed by caring for Margaux, is grateful for the attention Peter lavishes on her, and he creates an imaginative universe for her, much as Lewis Carroll did for his real-life Alice.
In time, he insidiously takes on the role of Margaux's playmate, father, and lover. Charming and manipulative, Peter burrows into every aspect of Margaux's life and transforms her from a child fizzing with imagination and affection into a brainwashed young woman on the verge of suicide. But when she is twenty-two, it is Peter - ill, and wracked with guilt - who kills himself, at the age of sixty-six.
Told with lyricism, depth, and mesmerizing clarity, Tiger, Tiger vividly illustrates the healing power of memory and disclosure. This extraordinary memoir is an unprecedented glimpse into the psyche of a young girl in free fall and conveys to readers - including parents and survivors of abuse - just how completely a pedophile enchants his victim and binds her to him.
I started writing this book the summer after the death of Peter
Curran, whom I met when I was seven and had a relationship with
for fifteen years, right up until he committed suicide at the age of
Hoping to make sense of what happened, I began drafting my life story. And even during times I haven't worked on it, when it sat on a shelf in my closet, I felt its presence in the despair that comes precisely at two in the afternoon, which was the time Peter would pick me up and take me for rides; in the despair again at five p.m., when I would read to him, head on his chest; at seven p.m., when he would hold me; in the despair again at nine p.m., when we would go for our night ride, starting at Boulevard East in Weehawken, to River Road, down to the Royal Cliffs Diner, where I would buy a cup of coffee with precisely seven sugars and a lot of cream, and a bread pudding with whipped cream and raisins, or rice pudding if he wanted a change. When I came ...
It matters that this is non-fiction. It matters that Fragoso was brave enough to re-live this, and share it with us. I've read tons of fiction that made me happy, angry, frustrated and sad. With this book, I could only ache for the truth of this little girl's life. Anger was useless, and pity seemed an insult to the woman she's become. I applaud her writing, and her commitment to protecting future children from the horror she suffered by illustrating the need for treatment of the perpetrators as well as the victims. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending - we are left with the image of Margaux, grown up and healing. Hope makes the ugly truth a little easier to take.
(Reviewed by Beverly Melven).
Full Review (735 words).
Margaux Fragoso says in the afterword of Tiger, Tiger that one of the reasons she wrote the book was to bring attention to the need for treatment of pedophiles. The current system focuses on the treatment of the child victims, and punishment for the perpetrators. As a victim herself, she believes the best thing would be to find a way to treat the pedophile so there would be no, or at least fewer, victims.
A web search of the U.S National Library of Medicine demonstrates the lack of attention to this area of study. A search for 'treatment pedophilia' only garners 350 hits, while 'treatment schizophrenia' has over 50,000.
In an article in Time magazine, experts explain that someone who seeks treatment is likely to ...
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