We dare you to turn away from these disturbing but beautifully written memoirs. Margaux Fragoso's Tiger, Tiger (FSG) and Tracy Ross's The Source of All Things (Free Press) are both shockingly frank stories of years of sexual abuse—Fragoso's at the hands of the 51-year-old she met at her community swimming pool (she was 7; what she calls their "relationship" lasted until his suicide 15 years later), Ross's by the beloved stepfather who raised her. We've read and heard stories like these before, but rarely in such clear, unsentimental prose. There are some almost prurient passages, but what's even more unsettling is that both women, years later, stop short of complete rejection of their abusers. (Fragoso still has "twelve spiral notebooks of dated daily letters, all beginning with 'Dear Princess'"; Ross credits her stepdad with teaching her the hunting, fishing, and hiking skills she now uses as therapy.) Apparently, even the most deeply dysfunctional relationships can be nuanced, and facing that fact might be the only way to survive.
— Sara Nelson
Printed from Oprah.com on Sunday, December 8, 2013