Tiger, Tiger: A Memoir

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Mom was so flattered by his friendship that she came to believe Peter was a positive influence in her daughter's life.

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Her father tried to stop the contact when a lifeguard saw Curran kissing her at the pool, but neither Pop nor her later boyfriends were able to sever the leech-like attachment Curran built, as he had done with other victims. Curran insinuated himself into her family, defending her against her father when she refused to attend school and becoming the voice of reason as the family fell apart.

Review: Tiger, Tiger: A Memoir by Margaux Fragoso

Fragoso paints a classic portrait of one paedophile, using a lyrical, seductive prose that stumbles clumsily between truth and titillation. He literally carved his name into her psyche and was able to do it because she was young and unprotected when he found her. If Fragoso were a lesser stylist -- she is a poet, has a PhD in English and has been published in The Literary Review -- the story would be no more than another harrowing account of an abuse survivor. But as a talented writer, she is able to bring us into the world of child abuse with an intensity that is new.

She lingers in detail on the premature sexualisation that gave her the erotic skills of a courtesan before she was 14 and left her heaving with a self-loathing and disgust that clings to the reader when this book is put down. Fragoso's decision to write with the knowingness of a woman's voice, rather than the innocence of a child, is a much lesser achievement than Emma Donoghue creates in Room and worlds away from the fiction Lolita, which both she and her publishers cite. The scenes are written so graphically that they leave little space for insight or reflection.

Accurate it may be, but the memoir fails to explore the corrupting power imbalance between them. She believes she is cruel to him, when more likely her actions were part of the twisted sado-masochistic behaviour he provoked. Other than Fragoso's distaste for his wrinkled old skin, there's nothing overtly monstrous about Curran on the page.


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Inappropriately, I think, this lets Peter's perversion reach beyond the prose into the reader's world. So Curran learns Nirvana songs because she loves Nirvana -- Fragoso read that as a sign of love rather than cunning. So he encourages her to read Vladimir Nabokov's classic with him? She writes it as a literary parallel, rather than realising it was a cunning way to make her feel even more special by exploiting her narcissistic desire to be a great writer.

It also blurs the psychological difference between seducing a fictional teenager as against abusing a seven-year-old child. Nabokov's book worked as literature because it trapped eroticism like a butterfly.

A Clinical, Searing Memoir Of Abuse in 'Tiger, Tiger' | WBUR News

In time, he insidiously takes on the role of Margaux's playmate, father, and lover. Charming and manipulative, Peter burrows into every aspect of Margaux's life and transforms her from a child fizzing with imagination and affection into a brainwashed young woman on the verge of suicide.

But when she is twenty-two, it is Peter - ill, and wracked with guilt - who kills himself, at the age of sixty-six. Told with lyricism, depth, and mesmerizing clarity, Tiger, Tiger vividly illustrates the healing power of memory and disclosure.

Penguin, €12.20, Paperback

I started writing this book the summer after the death of Peter Curran, whom I met when I was seven and had a relationship with for fifteen years, right up until he committed suicide at the age of sixty-six. Hoping to make sense of what happened, I began drafting my life story. And even during times I haven't worked on it, when it sat on a shelf in my closet, I felt its presence in the despair that comes precisely at two in the afternoon, which was the time Peter would pick me up and take me for rides; in the despair again at five p.

When I came It matters that this is non-fiction. It matters that Fragoso was brave enough to re-live this, and share it with us. I've read tons of fiction that made me happy, angry, frustrated and sad. With this book, I could only ache for the truth of this little girl's life.

Anger was useless, and pity seemed an insult to the woman she's become. I applaud her writing, and her commitment to protecting future children from the horror she suffered by illustrating the need for treatment of the perpetrators as well as the victims. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending - we are left with the image of Margaux, grown up and healing.

The critic - Rachel Cooke

Hope makes the ugly truth a little easier to take Full Review words. This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today. Reviewed by Beverly Melven. Write your own review! Margaux Fragoso says in the afterword of Tiger, Tiger that one of the reasons she wrote the book was to bring attention to the need for treatment of pedophiles.

The current system focuses on the treatment of the child victims, and punishment for the perpetrators. As a victim herself, she believes the best thing would be to find a way to treat the pedophile so there would be no, or at least fewer, victims. Show related SlideShares at end.

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Tiger, Tiger: A Memoir

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