illustration of a car crash, a grave, empty liquor bottles, a basketball, and a young man crying

Tears of a Tiger

by Sharon M. Draper

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In the novel Tears of a Tiger, why was Andy so focused on Robbie's life rather than his own life?

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Robbie and Andy were best friends.  They had known each other since third grade, and they did everything together.  However, now Robbie is dead.  In a fatal car accident, he was trapped in the car and burned to death.  The friends could hear him screaming.  Andy had been driving the car and was responsible for his friend’s death.  Not only did Andy face the responsibility of Robbie’s death, but his life had been so intertwined with Robbie’s that it was hard for Andy to face daily life.  They had both been on the basketball team, and when Robbie died, Andy got his position.  When he went to the mall with Keisha, the experiences he had with Robbie and Santa haunt him. When Robbie’s mother called at Christmas, it sent him into a depression thinking of other Christmases he had spent with Robbie’s family.  On the advice of the psychologist, Andy wrote a letter to Rob’s parents.  In it he detailed all the wonderful memories he had of Robbie.  Most of them were everyday events. 

“Spending the night at your house…….Going for ice cream after practice…..Playing basketball with a rolled up sock in Rob’s bedroom.... Finishing off two extra-large boxes of Frosted Flakes…..” (pg 104)

Everything he did reminded him of Rob.  He was unable to escape his memories of Rob because they did everything together and now there is a big hole in his life that he is unable to fill except with heartbreaking memories.

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