The Tiger Rising by Kate Dicamillo

March 15, 2008
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This book takes you from Jacksonville, Kentucky to Lister, Florida. From the very first page, it is clear that there is huge conflict between the main characters. A boy, Robert Horton, lives with his father in a motel after his mother died from cancer. He doesn't like Lister very much, but when he makes a very special friend, she teaches him a new perspective in which to look at things and that how memories and heartache cannot be locked up forever.

Robert and his father love each other, but they do not talk about their sadness. However, when Robert goes to school one morning, he sees a tiger in a very small cage. On that same day he meets Sistine Bailey, and everything suddenly changes. These two children learn together that they must try and forget their sadness; they must enjoy their childhood and the tiger becomes a symbol of their lives and to who they are.

My favorite part of this book is when the tiger is set free. So many feelings are rising up, like a part of Robert's past is finally being let go. I really enjoyed reading this part because it was so heartwarming, and so much love in the boy's heart was expressed as he let the tiger go. It was a way for him to try to let go of his mother, and try to move on.

You might be wondering why this book is called The Tiger Rising. Well, as Robert and Sistine become best friends, he tells her about the tiger and how he is not sure whether to let it free or not. As they are deciding, Sistine meets the motel house-keeper, Willie May. She expresses that by letting the tiger go free, it was as if he was rising out of the Florida mist; as if all of Robert's sentiments being opened up into the wild.

This book, as I mentioned earlier, has many sentiments and feelings to it. Robert Horton imagines a suitcase, which he does not open, because he is trying to lock up his feelings about his mother, and how he misses her. Robert Horton and Sistine Bailey help each other to get over their pain.

The Tiger Rising is a wonderfully written story, Kate Dicamillo does not waste a single word. This book shows you that you must find some way to get over your pains; even if it is the hardest thing ever you will ever do.





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