Rob Horton is a boy who has just lost his mother. He keeps all the memories regarding his mother tightly in ‘a-locked-up-suitcase’ deep in his heart, in his effort to press his sorrow and sadness. It only makes him a gloomy, lonely little boy who becomes an easy target for bullying at school. He lives in a motel with his father who works as a cleaning service there. Like Rob, his father also hides his sadness for his late wife deep in heart, that the two ‘men’ lives together almost without the warm of love.
On that special day, two things happened to Rob, two events that would change his life forever. First, he found a tiger—yes, tiger!—caged lonely in a small wood behind the motel. The tiger overwhelmed him, it felt like an enchantment for him. He kept thinking about the mysterious tiger, and these thoughts made him stronger. So, when another troubled kid like Rob—a new girl in school—was bullied, it was Rob, the little skinny Rob, who bravely tried to stop it.
Like Rob, Sistine—yes, the girl was named after the famous chapel!—has also lost her father through a divorce, and was forced to live with her mom, whom she didn’t like. But unlike Rob, Sistine has a ‘bursting’ and impulsive character. They were both disliked by their friends, and found comfort in each other’s presence. And now Sistine insisted to Rob that they must, somehow, let the caged tiger free from its confinement. So, what do you think Rob will do when the owner of the tiger gave him the cage keys? Would he let it free? And what had the tiger has to do with Rob’s problem? In what way will it cure him? You must read the book yourself to get to the bottom of the idea.
One thing’s for sure, this book teaches us to always live the truth, no matter good or bad it is. Yes, it seems a cliché, but let’s admit it, we often tend to run away from the truth in many ways. Sometimes the truth is so hard to face, but we must believe that, not only time, love can also heal—either taken or given.
Five stars for The Tiger Rising, as although the story is quite simple, it keeps a much deeper reflection. I also love the magical and shrine air of the story (in the tiger, and in the name of ‘Sistine’).