Tiger Eyes

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Tiger Eyes
Tiger Eyes book cover.jpg
First edition
Author Judy Blume
Country United States
Language English
Genre Young adult literature
Publisher Bradbury
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 224 pp
ISBN 0-87888-185-9
OCLC 7552139
LC Class PZ7.B6265 Ti
Followed by Judy Blume

Tiger Eyes is a young adult novel written by Judy Blume in 1981 about a 15-year-old girl attempting to cope with the unexpected death of her father. In 2012, the novel was adapted into a film of the same name, directed by Judy's son, Lawrence Blume and starring Willa Holland as Davey Wexler. Davey is often sad, depressed and defensive on everything. She has a short breakdown at her brother, Jason. Her mom becomes incapable of doing things about the house, making Davey more depressed.

Plot summary[edit]

Davey Wexler, along with her mother, Gwen, and her little brother, Jason, has just attended the funeral of her father, Adam, who was shot to death in a holdup at their 7-Eleven convenience store in Atlantic City. After lying in bed for days on end and not eating, she starts her tenth year of school, but ends up passing out on her first day from anxiety. She went for a checkup and the doctor said Davey's hyperventilating.

Davey's mother, Gwen, then decides they needed to get away for a while, so they take up an offer from Adam's older sister, Bitsy, and her husband Walter, to come stay with them in Los Alamos, New Mexico. However, a few days before they were scheduled to leave, Gwen gets news their store was further vandalized, and she decides they're going to stay longer. It turns out to be the rest of the school year.

While there, Bitsy and Walter, who do not have children and were never able to have them, start treating Davey and Jason like their own, which eventually creates tension between Davey and the two of them. They won't let her do a number of things because of fear of her getting hurt or killed, and more so when her mother just sits back and allows it to happen. During this time, Gwen gets a job at the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a temporary. She also sees a therapist named Miriam and convinces Davey to see her as well.

Meanwhile, as Davey explores the town on her aunt's bicycle, she goes to a canyon and after climbing down, she runs into an older boy who calls himself Wolf. Davey calls herself Tiger when they introduce each other. She also becomes a candy striper at the hospital with her new friend, Jane, and meets a cancer patient who turns out to be the father of Wolf. The inspiration from Wolf and his father changes Davey for the better. Sadly, he eventually dies later on from cancer and Wolf leaves.

Another story is Jane's alcoholism and Davey's desire to help her get out of it. Also, in three different parts Davey describes the evening her father was shot and killed, which causes her in the beginning of the book to completely freak out when Jason experiences a nosebleed from the altitude. She carries a paper bag with her, which is revealed to contain the clothing she was wearing when she found her father and cradled him all the way to his death. The clothing was soaked with his blood. After a session with Miriam, where she finally breaks down and is able to mourn her father, she eventually buries it and a bread knife she was carrying for self-defense in a cave in the canyon she met Wolf in.

Eventually, against Bitsy's wishes, Gwen decides to return the family to Atlantic City to begin a new life, so Walter helps them buy a car for the trip home. Gwen gets a job in one of the hotels, thanks to the credentials she gained while working at the lab, and with the aid of her friend, Audrey. Once they're back home, Davey often wonders if anyone will know how much she had changed, particularly her friend, Lenaya, and her boyfriend, Hugh, then also has the realization some changes happen deep down and only you know about them.


Judy Blume states in her book Places I Never Meant to Be this was the only book she has written she has voluntarily censored. In the original draft submitted to her editor, the character Davey masturbates while thinking about Wolf. Her editor pointed out the book was likely to be read by many more young readers if the scene was left out. After agonizing over the decision, Blume agreed and removed the passage.

This book is on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000 at number 89.[1]


A film version of the novel, directed by the author's son Lawrence Blume,[2] started production in October 2010 and was released at the 15th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival on April 12, 2012. It won the Jury Award for Best Feature in the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Willa Holland is cast as Davey, Tatanka Means as Wolf and Amy Jo Johnson as Gwen Wexler.[3] It was released on June 7, 2013 both in art house cinemas and video-on-demand.

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