Review of TIGER, TIGER by Margaux Fragoso

A riveting memoir of abuse.

By Pam Houston

“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 sui-cideat the age of sixty-six.”


So begins Fragoso’s courageous memoir of sexual violation and a childhood not just stolen but obliterated—by a neighbor who transformed his house into a child’s fantasy world, complete with a dog, rabbits, turtles, flowers, games and toys. Fragoso renders Curran with a heartbreaking mixture of tenderness and revulsion and recounts their time together with devastating clarity,with regard for its wonder as well as its terror and with radical empathy for them both. Most poignant of all is her in-creasing dissociation and her invention, at 13, of her alter ego, Nina: “She was a wish-bone. You could pull her in any direction and she’d be hard to snap.” By telling her story, Fragoso shines a bright light of transformation into the darkest corners of an unthinkable (but all too common) past.

First Published March 11, 2011

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