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Tenderness by Robert Cormier
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Tenderness

by Robert Cormier

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Disturbing. Tenderness is the story of two emotionally stilted young adults: Lori, a fifteen-year-old runaway with an unhealthy fixation with finding what she calls "tenderness" and Eric, an eighteen-year-old who has just been released from a "facility" he was in for three years for murdering his mother and stepfather. Lori, whose body matured far faster than her emotions, has left home temporarily because her mother's most recent live-in boyfriend has gotten a little too close for comfort. Not Lori's comfort--she doesn't really mind, as she finds his touch "tender", but she is worried that it will upset her mother if she finds out. She leaves home to find her current obsession, Throb, a music idol who will be playing a concert in a nearby town. When a surprise kiss from Throb turns out to be a disappointment, she finds a new object to fixate on: recently released Eric, who just so happens to be staying at his aunt's house in the same town. Lori recognizes Eric as a boy who had been nice to her once three years earlier, and decides she must see him again.

From Eric's point of view, we find that the murders he was convicted for were neither his first nor his most meaningful victims. Eric is a serial killer, having started with small animals and graduating rather soon to human victims. He found "tenderness" with three girls before moving on to his mother and her husband. Even while still in the "facility" he begins to fixate on a girl he sees there, who he calls "the senorita". He plans to meet with her once he is released, and she indicates that she is more than willing to meet with him too.

Eric and Lori's paths soon intersect, and readers view their disturbing relationship through both participants' eyes. Lori admits her obsession, slowly comes to realize what Eric really is, and soon tells him that she loves him and would never betray him to anyone. Eric, for his part, does appear to feel something for Lori, though it is not at all a healthy, real concern for her as a person for in his mind he never refers to her as anything but "the girl". They spend time together, and readers are kept in constant suspense about what Eric will do next--just how safe can Lori possibly be with him? The ending is surprising, and leaves one contemplating the nature of true justice. ( )
  beckymmoe | Apr 20, 2013 |
I don't know what it is about Robert Cormier, but I keep picking up his books even though I don't like his writing style. They're just growing on me. This one has a little too much cliche going on (the runaway who stalks the serial killer--maybe not a big cliche but it's not a surprise at all) and the ending, which is pretty much like all his other books with its messages of Life Isn't Fair and Cormier's Protagonists Never Win.

Not a bad read, a bit of creepy but not a whole lot, in part because there's not much mystery here: we know who these characters are and what their stories are, unlike I Am the Cheese. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 30, 2013 |
Tenderness by Robert Cormier describes Lori and Eric who are both in search of their definition of the word. This thriller first introduces Lorelei “Lori” as a misunderstood 15 year old looking for emotional and sexual attention but in tender way. Frustrated with her mothers’ alcoholic ways and latest relationship Lori runs away from her broken home and ends up in the back of a van driven by Eric Poole. This was the second time their paths have crossed. Eric was recently released after being was convicted of killing both his mother and stepfather as a juvenile. He finds tenderness in seducing and murdering young girls although those murders were never proven. Lori is naive and obsessed with Eric willing to do anything for his tender love in return. By the end of the novel her mission is accomplished but their emotionally journey comes to a surprising end. Young readers will be drawn to the suspense-creating tension that rises to a peak of excitement. Irony a theme in the book could lead to discussion of what was expected to happen but didn’t. The narrative is told from the point of view of three different people which may confuse teens trying to follow along. Grade 9 and up. ( )
  eussery | Apr 7, 2012 |
As he has done so well in his other books, Cormier creates a complex protagonist who, because of Cormier's exemplary writing, you extraordinarily actually hope for for split seconds at a time, despite him being a murderer of innocent young girls. And even though you know that these characters are too sad and too broken to have happy endings, and even though one of them seems to be truly truly evil (though Cormier manages to create shades of gray even with this) you can't help but hope that somehow everything will turn out okay in the end anyway. The ending of this book was particularly powerful, and the foreshadowing was really well done.
  seasonsoflove | Jan 17, 2012 |
Psychological horror and thriller with vivid young adult characters. This basically follows the life of a young psychopath from his manipulation of his parents, his trial to conviction to release, and beyond, and what happens when he meets a runaway teenage girl who is innocent yet manipulative at the same time. I really don't know enough to say whether the characters are realistic or not. Some parts of the plot were more believable than others. I did not like either character - I don't think I was supposed to. There is a brief moment when it looks like a surprise happy ending may appear. I found this book hard-going, intriguing, off-putting, pulling no punches, yet somehow lacking. I'm not sure what is missing - other than Eric's empathy - but something is. I just can't put my finger on what. ( )
  Flit | Sep 7, 2011 |
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Me, I get fixated on something and I can't help myself.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385731337, Paperback)

EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD ERIC HAS just been released from juvenile detention for murdering his mother and stepfather. Now he’s looking for some tenderness—tenderness he finds in caressing and killing beautiful girls. Fifteen-year-old Lori has run away from home again. Emotionally naive but sexually precocious, she is also looking for tenderness—tenderness she finds in Eric. Will Lori and Eric be each other’s salvation or destruction?

“Cormier is in top form in this chilling portrait of a serial murderer. . . . Gripping.”—School Library Journal, Starred

An ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:12 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A psychological thriller told from the points of view of a teenage serial killer and the runaway girl who falls in love with him.

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