I found this powerful book deeply disturbing and confronting in many parts. It was the messages of hope, change, and empowerment in the fight against domestic violence that kept me reading. It took courage to write about this difficult subject. I applaud Aleesah Darlison for taking on this theme and doing such a stellar job of it.
Overcoming fear is the greatest obstacle for Ebony. Strength is gleaned from her new and authentic friend, Teena, whom Ebony finally entrusts with her secret pain.
Dad is the tiger; an alcoholic, gambler, and emotional and physical abuser. Inherited violence from his upbringing rules out concessions towards his children. He’s good at finding excuses for everything, and what he says goes. Mum excuses his actions as the result of his difficult childhood, but in fact, she’s unable to stand up to him.
To save the younger ones from their father’s brutality, Ebony bears the brunt of his anger, frustration and violence. It’s Teena’s persistence and encouragement, and the power and influence of the strengthening friendship that finally brings about change.
The scenes of abuse were difficult for me to read. They will be for many people, especially those who have experienced any kind of domestic violence. The message is to overcome fear, become empowered. Stand up and speaking out. It takes courage and strength. This is the only way to stop running from the tiger.
Written for the specific purpose of empowering victims, this novel will inspire hope and possibility in anyone threatened or victimised by any sort of domestic violence. Contacts for help are listed in the back.
Themes of true friendship and the need for a confidant in every person’s life, grief and acceptance, play a large role here. The book also reminds us that although people we love and who love us may leave this life, what we have learnt from them stays with us forever.
Title: Running from the Tiger
Author: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Empowering Resources, $15
Publication Date: March 2017
For ages: 11+
Type: Middle Fiction