Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
This book totally surprised me. I was skeptical of the idea of a Peter Pan re-telling from Tiger Lily’s perspective, narrated by none other than Tinker Bell. So weird. And I’ve never been a huge fan of Peter Pan. The story was too Disney-fied in my head. And the musical with Sandy Duncan really wheat-thinned it for me too.
But wow–Anderson’s Tiger Lily is awesome. It’s not simply a re-telling from another perspective: Anderson has re-imagined the story. It’s much darker, at times even brutal. But it’s also more real. The novel is essentially a love story between Tiger Lily and Peter before Wendy shows up on the scene. And as ‘Tink’ warns it doesn’t have a happy ending. I usually don’t like books that let me know the ending from the start, but this one is well worth it.
Anderson has almost written a literary Peter Pan story. The characters are deep and complex, with conflicting motivations, and they grow and change in surprising ways. Sure there’s subtle commentary on colonialism in there but also some real insight into ‘first love’ that I have not seen in the magical YA lit yet. (And I’ve read a lot of it. Did you see my Big List yet?)
The literary style and attempts at realism sometimes conflict with the magical silliness of the original tale of Peter Pan, but what Anderson had done with Tiger Lily is masterful and marvelous. A great read that will leave you with something to think about for weeks afterwards.