Reviewed by Deepak Menon for Readers’ Favorite
The “Boy Who Rode the Tiger: Adventures in India” begins with an enchanting prologue, where five little children are playing outside one of the large houses in a city in India. The kindhearted lady of the house, realizing that they are hungry, invites them for lunch. With the food laid out, she notices one little boy hiding shyly behind a tree, because he did not have a spoon! This touched my heart and set the tone for the rest of the book. The scene shifts to a railway platform in a town in the USA. An impoverished young gypsy girl, Mabel Stevo, snatches a purse and runs. A 13-year-old boy, Marco, yanks the purse out of her hands, disorienting Mabel, who falls on the railway tracks while the train rolls in. She is saved in the nick of time by Marco. Marco’s heroic act of saving the girl is splashed across the newspaper. Auntie M says that Marco had been the one who saved Mabel’s life and consequently was responsible for her. The next day, Marcus goes to the police and takes responsibility for the orphan child, Mabel.
The author then skillfully casts a net across many different places in India and the USA while introducing other protagonists, both evil and good, with unique, enchanting story lines of their own. Little Manu with his Put-Put, Jaz, a vagabond, Roo, whom she thought was a Martian, the tall lady known as ‘the Reader,’ and Sanjay who plays a major role in helping her, are just a few of the many fascinating protagonists in this book. The cover of the book is very charming and is sure to excite the target audience of pre-teens. The plot is unique and the flow of the story is fluid, with a succession of different scenarios swiftly moving along different threads to finally merge into a most memorable finish. There is a continuous flow of suspense throughout the plot with the underlying spirit of goodness garnishing the tale. And the boy really did ride and tame the most challenging ‘Tiger' of them all.
I read it word by word as always, but now I am recommending it to everyone I know, because the author, Ginger Heller, must certainly be imbued with empathy to be able to write “The Boy Who Rode the Tiger: Adventures in India.” Ginger Heller has the ability to change scenarios in a moment while introducing story lines that are entirely new, yet keeping the main thread of the story alive, often arousing the finer sentiments of the reader. This is certainly a five- star reading experience, with an originality not often found these days. Highly recommended.