Linda Lipko's Reviews > The Tiger Rising

The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
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Dec 26, 2010

it was amazing
Read in November, 2010

This is a small book that packs a great deal of whallop! It is beautifully written and filled with symbolic images.

Twelve year old Rob Horton is hurting. His mother died and his father refuses to discuss the loss. Moving from their previous home and living in a run down hotel where his father is the care taker is difficult.

Lacking emotional support, while pushing down the pain, Rob develops a nasty rash. He is ridiculed and beaten by class mates. He is tremendously vulnerable.

When a new girl arrives on the bus, she too is taunted and smacked around by the bullies. Sistine (named for the chapel) is spunky and spirited and unlike Rob, she fights back. Her reward for doing so is a torn dress and black and blue eyes.

Like Rob, Sistine is suffering from loss, though she is convinced that her father simply abandoned her mother and that he will be back to claim her.

When Rob finds a tiger in the woods, he shares the knowledge with Sistine. She immediately wants to release the wild animal. The tiger belongs to the owner of the hotel and letting him go might equate to Rob's father losing his job.

This is a poignantly written book that haunts me. I am in awe of DiCamillo's ability to accurately portray the loneliness of two children who desperately long to escape and rise above the pain.

highly recommended
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