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christopher

Brooklyn, NY, United States

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  • Tiger, Tiger: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Margaux Fragoso
    • Narrated By Susan Bennett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (23)

    One summer day, Margaux Fragoso meets Peter Curran at the neighborhood swimming pool, and they begin to play. She is seven; he is 51. 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.

    Susan says: "Gripping, unflinching and very, very brave."
    "a weirdly loving diatribe against pervs."
    Overall

    if you've read any other reviews of this book, it has probably been brought to your attention that it is dense with reconstructed dialogue that strains the work's credibility as a memoir. this raises a lot of questions about the liberties which can be taken with this particular literary genre, but as an audiobook it creates a whole new set of concerns.

    the voice characterizations provided by susan bennett do make for colorful listening, but if you would like an unsullied perspective on the controversy surrounding the author's narrative agenda and the question of how to balance one's sympathies between the memoir's subjects, it would probably be best to read the book in print or e-form first. this memoir comes across as an all-too-perfect novelization of all-too-perfectly-horrifying circumstances (although i am not calling into question the veracity of fragoso's experiences), and the vocal style in which it is read only exacerbates this. i kind of wish i could undo my listening of this book so i could actually read it tabula rasa.

    in regard to the actual content, it's not quite the call for vigilance against pedophiles' tactics that a listener/reader might need to imagine it is in order to justify traversing its more uncomfortable passages. at many times the author seems narcissistically enamored with her child-self's psychological complexities and frequently paints the relationship with her abuser as a thing of demented but humane beauty that brings out the best in both of them. this is certainly fragoso's prerogative as a writer and i don't begrudge her that, but the epilogue feels like an incongruous attempt to repackage the preceding body as a simple, earnest, shot-to-the-brain public warning for the decent denizens of a decent society. it is not so.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful

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