Running from the tiger by Aleesah Darlison
Empowering Resources, 2017. ISBN 9780994501066
(Age: Mature readers 11+) Running from the tiger explores the power of friendship, trust and courage as a counterpoint to the darker themes of domestic violence, child abuse and the dynamics of families in crisis.
Eleven-year-old Ebony's lonely life is filled with school, chores, minding her little sisters and treading carefully around her father. Her dad is the tiger, an alcoholic gambler who rules his family through physical and emotional abuse. Ebony's mother is heavily pregnant and she relies on her oldest daughter to help around the house. She makes excuses for her husband as he suffered a difficult childhood as well. Ebony even steps in and takes the punishment instead of her little sisters, and she bears the scars of her dad's rage. Darlison uses strong statements, short clipped phrases and the analogy of the powerful cat to heighten the story's difficult scenes.
Ebony is a loner at school; she does not have any close friends until Teena and her family move into town. The girls become close, sharing a love for dragons and athletics. Teena has secrets as well; her mother has passed away and her Dad moves them from place to place, finding difficulty managing their finances and family life without his wife. Teena's strength helps Ebony to confront her father and finally stand up to him.
Darlison's novel is suitable for a more mature reader. It was written to inform and empower victims, to create an empathetic understanding and contacts for help are included at the end.
Ebony's gripping story is one of triumph over tragedy.