Margaux Fragoso had a sexual relationship for 15 years with a pedophile. She was only 7-years-old when she first met Peter Curran. Margaux says she was: "...Peter's religion". He had 22 photo albums full of pictures of Margaux.
Margaux and her mother, Sandie, began visiting Peter at his home every Monday and Friday after meeting him at the community pool. Margaux was completely taken with the large number of pets Peter kept, everything from a dog to a small alligator. Visiting Peter was a nice break from Margaux's Spanish father, Louie, who was violent and full of put-downs. He especially treated Margaux's mother terribly as she had a mental illness. Peter's live-in partner, Ines, worked full-time but Peter stayed home on a disability pension after being injured in the Korean war.
After a couple of months of visiting Peter, he begins to kiss Margaux on the lips telling her that's what people do when they love each other. That eventually led to Peter and Margaux spending more time together in the basement. While they played, Peter would tell her that the world lies and parents should use the proper names for their private parts because they were meant to bring pleasure. Peter eventually talked Margaux into playing hide n' seek while `she' was naked.
When a few months had passed, Peter took in a 6-year-old `foster child' named Karen. Who in their right mind places a child with someone like Peter? Obviously he had more people duped than Margaux and her mother.
At home, things were terribly intense. Louie was constantly berating Sandy and spent the majority of his time yelling and telling her what she couldn't do. He wouldn't allow her to cook, keep house, or comb Margaux's hair. He told her she was too stupid and had mental problems and therefore "he" had to do "everything". Louie's constant harassment made visiting Peter that much more appealing for Sandy and Margaux.
It absolutely made me angrier than a wet hen that Peter was outright molesting and lying to Margaux. On top of that, Peter knew how verbally and emotionally abusive her father was. Children are so innocent and believe anything adults or people in places of authority like teachers, police, clergy and others tell them. Peter was impressing upon Margaux how much "they" loved each other, and that "they" were made to be together and get married some day. Margaux at age 8 now fully believed she was quite mature and knew more than Karen did because she was only 6. You can see the amount of psychological damage Peter has already bestowed upon Margaux when she believed she was going to marry a man who was 52 and older than her own father.
This is just an overview of the story and believe it or not, there is so, so much more to this tale that you'll be utterly surprised, shocked and sickened. However, if you have a difficult time dealing with thoughts of pedophiles molesting young children, then this book would be far too heavy emotionally for you to read. I wasn't quite prepared enough myself to read this memoir.
on March 3, 2011
This is no misery memoir. Margaux Fragoso's writing is poetic and haunting, and she manages to transport us into her childhood world, so we grow up alongside her and see what it was that drew Peter to her, and her to him. It's a clear-eyed telling, and she admirably avoids playing the victim. It's a brilliant work of literature that will forever change your perspective on child abuse.
on February 26, 2011
Having read Alice Sebold's, "The Lovely Bones" six years ago, seeing this title intrigued me, especially being a memoir. This book is a roller-coaster of emotions; Margaux grows up far too fast, surrounded by deception and hard love. Not for the faint-hearted, this is truly a tough and revealing read. Recommended.
on November 27, 2013
I thought Tiger Tiger was a really well-written memoir. Often I'm a sucker for good dialogue – it really does bring characters to life. In this case though, there are huge chunks of dialogue from back when the author was only seven or eight years old and I wonder how much of the stuff was actually said. In any case, it sure seemed like she got the essence of the situation and the personalities – her angry, opinionated, overworked father (who was born and raised in Puerto Rico and speaks without contractions), her mentally unstable mother, the seemingly harmless man named Peter who ended up stealing a good chunk of her childhood. I was hooked – it's a good story and it makes you think, and at the same time it's quite sad knowing that nothing was done earlier to stop the madness of her whole family dynamic, which if stabilized would have probably made her feel like she had a place to be other than at a pedophile's home.