Title: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Genre: Fiction/ Fantasy/ YA
Source: Kindle Recommendation
Favourite Quote: ‘There was strength, and there was also just the determination to look strong. She guarded herself like a secret.’
Have you ever wondered what was going on in Neverland before Peter took Wendy from her bedroom window? For a world in the stars where no one grows up, it makes you wonder how long Peter and the lost boys have been in Neverland and for what purpose. The stories they all had before the one we’ve all been told. Have you ever wondered as to how Tinkerbell got her name when faeries don’t talk? Did you ever imagine that maybe Tink didn’t hate Wendy just out of jealously but simply because he belonged to someone else that she cared about? Have you ever asked yourself why a crocodile sounds like a ticking clock? Well.. now we know.
It’s a love story that will pull at your heartstrings for this isn’t your typical Disney fairytale with a happy ending, but instead a powerful story about change, trust, strength, first love and first heart break. Tinkerbell tells us her story about living in Neverland with Tiger Lily and her tribe, and how they first discovered the mysteriously dangerous Peter and the lost boys.
‘Sometimes I think that maybe we are just stories. Like we may as well just be words on a page, because we’re only what we’ve done and what we are going to do. I know I’m only a faerie, a tiny speck in the world, but then I look at the things I’ve seen and done, and I become a long scrawly line of something important.’
We all know the story about Peter Pan, yes? We’ve all seen the Disney film at least as children growing up. We’ve seen the plays, we’ve read the books, we all know that Peter Pan is a young boy who never grows up, living in a world amongst the stars with a faerie that has the ability to make him fly with innocent carefree thoughts. We know there are pirates and Indians and mermaids which make Neverland seem like paradise.
Except, it isn’t.
This story is told from Tinkerbell’s perspective which is as close as you’ll get on a personal level with the main characters without the first person narrative.
Tinkerbell, like all faeries, is mute, but is so small that she has developed a certain telepathy to be able to hear the thoughts and feelings of others so she is able to capture their expressions clearly. She’s a fascinating character and a great aspect of the story that allows the reader to see the whole picture from Tiger Lily and her tribe, Peter and the lost boys in the forest and Captain Hook on the pirate ship with his fellow pirates. I really liked how she brought her reader back down to her level with her own personal issues as being a silent faerie, never quite knowing whether the humans are actually aware of her presence at all.
‘I was in the rafters dealing with troubles of my own. I was carrying a raindrop to keep in a little hole in the wood, so I could drink from it at my leisure. But each raindrop I lifted kept falling apart. Water is so delicate’
Tiger Lily doesn’t set out to be different by any means, she just is. Not quite fitting in with the tribe, she’s naturally become something wild with her desire to be in the forest over knitting with the other females in the tribe. The tribe don’t know how to accept her and would prefer to think of her as something else, more of an animal or a cursed spirit rather than just a detached headstrong girl. Tiger Lily has accepted this situation just fine but I think it was more so that she was just disinterested in the local gossip. It’s only when she meets Peter that she really feels much of anything at all. To find another person who is just as lonely as she is created a connection that even she couldn’t escape from, although she can’t understand the feelings coursing through her.
‘It was rumoured among the young people that at night she became her crow spirit, and they dared each other to leave piles of stones outside her door as a feat of bravery, fearing that they might peer through her window and see only a crow staring back at them. She would collect the stones the following morning, bewildered. Fear and, yes, even a bit of envy of her wild independence followed her side by side.’
Each character played an important role in Tiger Lily’s life; the Englander who she saved twice became more of a problem to her and her tribe when new religious ways of thinking were introduced. Tik Tok, her adopted father, the shaman of the sky eaters tribe who lived in dresses because they were comfortable was the only person Tiger Lily could actually speak too when the rare opportunity arose. Pine Sap, equally different but the only one who accepted her for who she was without question, even though she couldn’t see it. Each character had their strengths and weaknesses and were brilliantly written. I particularly liked the focus on Smee and how he joined Hook from London to find paradise only to be disappointed. His haunting past was very chilling, definitely something I wasn’t expecting, how he only murdered people he admired and always sheds a tear to make him feel the despair for his victims in their final moments. This new twist on Smee was very clever and made a fantastic aspect to the story.
‘It had been a rude awakening for Smee to leave England with a promise of paradise, and to end up in the thick, insect-infested, dirty, hot danger of the jungle. And while he’d been treated to a few amazing sights of creatures different from any in England – clusters of white-lit faeries hovering over a bog, furry beasts with tusks and horns – Neverland was mostly a tangle; of trees, of weeds, of predators, of quick deaths.’
Peter Pan was just as you imagined him to be, a young, innocent, child minded boy who made everyone believe he was strong and brave, when actually he was quite the opposite. His fear of the pirates he kept deep within himself to protect the lost boys. There are parts to him that will continue to surprise you, from his gentlemanly behaviour and his protective nature of others. You feel betrayed when he suddenly becomes the young naive boy again just when you think he’d changed. He didn’t know what he wanted and was never consistent with his emotions. I guess that was the point. He wanted to be fearless and independent but at the same time felt a need to be wanted just like everyone else.
‘”I’ve never had someone like you around before. What do people do who are together?”
Peter could be like that, so suddenly guileless that it caught at your heart. Tiger Lily held her breath and said nothing. I could see that her approval meant the world to Peter, and that he was hanging there, waiting for it.
“Peter, I shouldn’t keep coming to see you, I’m supposed to…”
Peter shook his head hard, annoyed. “If you have reasons for not coming back, I don’t want to know them. I just want you to come back anyway. Ignorance, see?”‘
Jodi Lynn Anderson’s retelling of Neverland was a complete wonder of sadness, love and loss that I will never forget.
In the forbidden woods of Neverland, Tiger Lily falls under the alluring Peter Pan’s spell. She will risk everything – her family, her future – to be with him. But Tiger Lily soon discovers that the most dangerous enemy can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart. From the New York Times bestselling author comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn’t grow up.