We all know that nonfiction is more popular than fiction with certain teen readers. The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival has been gathering strong buzz and reviews since its release in late August. Turns out it also has teen appeal, and is a strong recommendation for fans of Sebastian Junger and Jon Krakauer. Young adults concerned with the environment and animals are also natural readers for this title, and you could even hand it to readers of fictional thrillers.
That The Tiger is in the works to be a movie starring Brad Pitt bodes well for its future.
Adult/High School– In a region of Siberia so remote that it was left untouched even by glaciers during the Ice Age, a 1997 hunt for an enormous man-killing Amur tiger becomes a fascinating tale of the conflict between two of the most powerful and intelligent predators atop the food chain–humans and Siberian tigers. Vaillant provides a thrilling and horrific account of hunters being stalked, attacked, and eaten while he deliberately constructs the reasons–historical, economic, political, biological, psychological, ecological–that intersect to upend an otherwise cautious respect between man and tiger. The result is deadly for both. The Tiger, like Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild (Villard, 1996), introduces readers to a part of the world where the hardships of wilderness make basic survival an unimaginable challenge. The vengeful intelligence of its stalking beast and the fear and obsession evoked in men echoes Melville’s Moby Dick. Yet, like C.S.I., the book has the compelling components of a forensic mystery. The narrative might seem digressive to less-patient readers and leave some teens wishing for more of the gory detail promised by the cover, but teachers across the curriculum will find something of interest for their students here.–John Sexton, Westchester Library System, NY