Tiger Eyes

Judy Blume's 1981 young adult novel, Tiger Eyes, opens with Davey Wexler going to her father's funeral.

Davey is fifteen and her little brother, Jason, is only seven when their father is shot and killed during a robbery at his 7-Eleven store in Atlantic City.

Davey's Aunt Bitsy (her father's sister) and her husband, Walter, come for the funeral and stay for awhile afterward.

When it's time for them to return to New Mexico, they ask Gwen and the children to go home with them.  Gwen refuses, telling them she has to pick up the pieces by herself.

But things don't improve. They are all afraid. They sleep with the lights on. Davey won't get out of bed. She doesn't eat.

When school starts a couple of weeks after their father's death, Jason is excited to be going back.  Davey can hardly face her first day of high school.

She passes out three days in a row. Her mother takes her to the family doctor who tells her she's hyperventilating due to anxiety. He says a change of scene might do her good.

Gwen calls Bitsy and Walter and tells them she'd like to take them up on their offer.  They are delighted, and buy plane tickets for all of them, including Minka, the cat.

The stay in Los Alamos is supposed to be a short one, but it doesn't turn out that way.  Davey's mother becomes so depressed she is unable to function. No one knows when she will be able to return home.

Now Davey must adjust to even more changes. She has to begin high school again in a different place, and try to make new friends.

Uncle Walter and Aunt Bitsy take over the parenting. If their mother says anything at all, she simply agrees with them.

How is Davey supposed to handle all these sudden changes and new rules, on top of the horrible murder of her father?

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Complaints about Tiger Eyes are sexual situations, underage drinking, and profanities.

There is so little of what is listed as reasons for challenging this book, and so much useful material, I can hardly believe anyone would want it banned!

There is enough here for days - if not weeks - of discussion.  Aside from the obvious tragedy, loss, and grief, some of the other issues faced by the family are fear, anxiety, dependency, and depression.

Plus, Davey is a high-school freshman trying to get through all the normal changes that go with being a teenager entering a new phase of life.   Tiger Eyes would be a great book for class discussion. 

Highly recommended.

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