Tiger Eyes

Common Sense Media says

Powerful novel examines teen's world of grief.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Young adults who read Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes will learn about terrain and lifestyles in two different parts of the United States: Atlantic City, N.J., and Los Alamos, N.M. There's especially a lot of detail about the Southwest: climate, social attitudes, and history. The book includes a brief history of Project Y and development of the atom bomb. Characters discuss issues surrounding the morality of building bombs and opinions about gun control; the novel offers multiple viewpoints, encouraging young readers to think critically about important issues.

Positive messages

Tiger Eyes shows readers how time, family support, and therapy can help people recover from even the most traumatic loss. The book takes an unvarnished view of the dangers of teen alcohol use, and a friend provides information on how a girl with a drinking problem can seek help.

Positive role models

Davey's mother tunes out somewhat as she struggles with grief, but she ultimately makes tough decisions that are right for her children. She's also as open as she can stand to be about her suffering, and suggests Davey see a psychologist when Davey seems stuck in her own anger and pain. Davey's aunt and uncle, Bitsy and Walter, have a different lifestyle and attitudes from what Davey's used to, but they're caring and supportive when they're needed. A therapist, Miriam, helps Davey and her mom talk about their grief.

Violence

The events and emotions that Davey and her family go through in Tiger Eyes stem from a shooting death. The murder is described in great detail and has a tremendous impact on the family. Davey, who is 15, witnesses the aftermath of the shooting and thinks about it often. In internal monologue, she recounts what happened the night of the shooting, including graphic descriptions of blood and a wounded person dying.

Sex

Davey describes the way she feels when kissing her boyfriend, Hugh. They have a heated make-out session, though they are fully clothed. Davey's friend Jane gets drunk and makes out with a boy in the back seat of a car while Davey and another boy sit in the front; Davey describes the sounds of what her friend is doing, but she tries not to look. At another point in the book, Walter becomes angry and criticizes Davey's mother for having become pregnant as a teenager.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Grape-Nut Flakes, Chevy Blazer, 7-Eleven.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

When Davey faints at school, she's accused of using drugs or alcohol. Later, she mentions having tried alcohol but not liking the way it made her feel. Davey's friend Jane abuses alcohol as a way to mask her own fears, and as a result engages in risky behavior with a boyfriend. She also drinks at school and sometimes becomes sick or hungover from drinking. Davey tries to help Jane talk honestly about her drinking and seek help. Davey's mother takes prescription pain killers for tension headaches, but eventually gives them up. Davey drinks Sangria with her mom at a restaurant.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Judy Blume's young-adult novel Tiger Eyes focuses on a family's struggle to recover emotionally after a family member is murdered by armed robbers. The book is narrated by 15-year-old Davey, who is dealing with her own normal growing-up issues as well as her grief. In addition to describing a horrifically violent event, the book addresses issues surrounding safety and gun control, and the morality of countries building bombs. Tiger Eyes also depicts teens abusing alcohol and an adult who uses prescription pain killers. Teen characters kiss passionately but remain clothed. Tiger Eyes was made into an award-winning film that was shown in several regional film festivals in spring 2012.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

TIGER EYES is told from the point of view of a 15-year-old girl named Davey, who is grieving for a family member murdered in an armed robbery. When the book opens, she is dressing for a funeral. Davey stays in bed; she stops eating and doesn't want to start school in the fall. When her stress level starts to cause panic attacks and fainting, her doctor suggests that a change of scene might help. Her family then decamps to Los Alamos, N.M., to visit Davey's aunt and uncle. Once they're settled in the Southwest, Davey's mom begins to fall apart, while Davey makes a few friends and deals with normal teenage issues as well as her grief. All the family needs time and support to face their sadness and anger, and move on to the next stage of their lives. Tiger Eyes was made into a film that was shown in several regional film festivals in spring 2012.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Tiger Eyes is a powerful and emotional novel about grief and recovery. Davey describes the heavy issues affecting her, and regular growing-up struggles, in an articulate but believable way. In general, Blume shows just the right amount of restraint in writing this book for young adults: There's enough detail about the violent events to make a huge impact without giving young readers more than they can handle. The author also treats other issues that are important to her characters -- sexuality, alcohol and drug use, safety vs. independence -- with great sensitivity and realism. Of all of Blume's novels about growing up, Tiger Eyes may be the most tender and the most true to life.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Davey feels in the book. Why does Wolf become so important to her? How does she begin to feel better?

  • How does Tiger Eyes compare with other young-adult Judy Blume books you've read?

  • Does this book take a stand on gun control? What are the pros and cons of having personal weapons?

Book details

Author:Judy Blume
Genre:Family Life
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Friendship, High school
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Random House
Publication date:September 1, 1981
Number of pages:224
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Paperback

This review of Tiger Eyes was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old May 10, 2013
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Really gets you thinking.

Breathtaking, read this for novel study in the 4th grade, Almost baled my eyes out during the first few chapters, Having to deal with her father tragic death and many other things this book is exceptional, not a dull moment. One of the best Judy Blume books, Clearly. Anyone under 10 won't get the content I read it at ten and it was okay read it agin at 12 and Loved it so much read it in an hour tops.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old October 28, 2013
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Okay For Mature Tweens

Great story about moving on from tragic situations with a little help from a friend in a similar situation. I am a big fan of Judy Blume's work, and this is one of my favorite works of her's. This book is great, and I think that is okay for mature tweens who aren't afraid of blood and violence. Very good story with positive messages about healing and not hiding from grief and sensitivity.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bymeomya14 September 17, 2014

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