Title: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Published: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins Children
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .
Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.
Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.
With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.
Peter Pan is not one of my favorite stories from childhood. Which surprises me considering how much I was drawn to, and loved this book. I picked this up from the library, intrigued and focused on it because I’ve seen it pop up on a couple of people’s blogs. I’m really glad I took a chance on this book. It’s a beautiful interpretation of the Peter Pan story that we all know.
I am so very much in love with Anderson’s writing. It’s dreamy and ethereal, almost effortless in its descriptiveness and pacing. I adore the way the characters are presented, and the story they tell. There’s a darkness to the characters, secondary motivations.
Tiger Lily is presented as a wild child who lives on the fringes of her own people, an orphan raised by the shaman on the tribe. She has one true friend within the tribe, the misunderstood Pine Sap. She’s ostracized and mistrusted. Betrothed to the tribe bully, she’s forced to yield to Giant’s whims, and the whims of his mother. It’s heartbreaking to see the shift in Tiger Lily as she momentarily gives in.
Anderson’s choice to have Tinkerbell narrate this story at first seemed strange, but the more I read and the further the story progressed the more sense it made. Tinkerbell is an observer, who watches Tiger Lily and eventually Peter Pan when the three interact together. The love story between Tiger Lily and Peter Pan is heartbreaking and real. It’s a slow build both unsure of themselves, and the darkness they harbor. The characters are so great, so engaging and complex. The villains are villains fro a reason, and they’re much more twisted than anything Disney has come up with. Smee will give me nightmares for a few nights to come. The Lost Boys are brilliantly introduced and written. Each has a distinctive voice and way of interacting with Pan, Tiger Lily and eventually Wendy. Peter and Wendy follow in their path, falling in love with each other. Tiger Lily left behind, along with Tinkerbell as Wendy becomes such an integral part of Peter’s life.
This is a re-imagination of the story of Peter Pan rather than a retelling. I love the characters, and the almost tangible loneliness, despite all of them being surrounded by others. Darkness of character is a strong theme in this story, and it’s refreshing to see such human qualities to characters from fairy tales. Anderson creates such lush characterizations that I found it so easy to fall in love with them all. There’s real emotion written into the pages, and I need to own this book. I like the idea of Neverland being an island that’s nearly impossible to reach by the normal people. The ending is fitting and tragically beautiful.
I think this quote sums the book up rather perfectly: “”Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you’ve heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn’t win. In some places, there is something ultimately good about endings. In Neverland, that is not the case.”