Draper, S.M. (1994). Tears of a Tiger. New York: Simon Pulse.
This very real drama begins with a newspaper article reporting that a high school senior basketball player, Rob, has died in a fiery car crash. There were three other boys who survived the crash, including Andy, who was driving.
What follows are the conversations, prayers, letters and homework assignments of some of those teens most closely affected by the accident. At the center is Andy’s voice: He struggles with taking Rob’s place on the basketball team, his distant relationship with his parents and his own guilt over the accident. While the conversation format of most of the text may be difficult to follow at first, it becomes easier as the reader continues on to encounter discussions of race, class, suicide, loss, discrimination, familial expectations, etc.
This dark but real work of YA kicked off Draper’s Hazelwood High Trilogy.
Activities to do with the book:
This book would lend itself to having journal entries made in reaction to the text. Students could also write their own dialogues based on events or issues that have occurred in their own high schools and record them or act them out.
This book can serve as a first step for students to discover many of Draper's other young adult novels. Many of which evoke emotional responses.
“And I’ve just been glad that I had such good friends. Now one of them is gone and I feel responsible” (p. 17).
“Last week I learned that kids my age could die. That was the most frightening experience I ever had. A boy that I knew real well, that sat next to me in study hall, died in a car crash” (p. 18).
“The inside of me is hurtin’. You know what I mean?” (p. 23).
“Well, if you really wanted to know, I wanted to die right after the accident. I wanted it to be me that was dead instead of Rob. He had so much goin’ for himself” (p. 24).