Goddess of Apathy’s #CBR4 Review #11: Tears of a Tiger, by Sharon Draper
Tears of a Tiger is a young adult novel that grips your interest from the first page, a newspaper article from November 8. A seventeen year old star basketball player from Hazelwood High, Robert Washington, is killed in a horrific automobile accident, but he wasn’t the driver. The driver was his intoxicated friend, Andrew Jackson. The article paints a grim portrait of the wreck and painful death Robert endured as he was trapped in the car, burning to death.
Robert’s suffering was great, but Andrew is living with the guilt of his destruction of the dead and the fallout that affects the living. Andrew’s inability to grieve and cope affects everyone with whom he comes in contact.He’s not the only person suffering from the aftermath of the accident. Two other boys were in the car, too, B.J. Carson and Tyrone Mills. But B.J. and Tyrone have other things in their lives to deal with on top of the sadness surrounding Robert’s death. What about Robert’s family? Andrew’s family and his girlfriend, Keisha? The pain is too much for all of them.
The book is written through a series of letters, articles, homework assignments, and dialogues. All the characters weigh in on the loss of Robert and Andrew’s downward spiral. The characters are real; they joke and dream like most teenagers. The story is timeless and heart wrenching. Even if you aren’t a teenager, you can identify with the story and the world created by Sharon Draper.
I read this book with my high school students in May. When they first looked at the cover, they scoffed at it, thinking it was a baby book. Yet, when we listened to the audiobook and read along in the text, you could’ve heard a pin drop every day and every class period. Tears were shed and there was so much meaningful discussion about the book and the characters. The book spoke to them and moved them because they felt the story. I know it’s not Shakespeare or some other dead white dude that is supposed to be important, but this book made an impact and I’ll be reading it again with this year’s students, and expect that same magic.