Sunday, February 3, 2013

Grow Up Already

" 'You love me,' she said. 'That's enough.
We love each other.'

'Yes. Yes, that's true.' He smiled.
'We are a love story.' "
--Jodi Lynn Anderson, Tiger Lily

Genre: YA Fairy Tale Re-Telling
Publisher: Harper Teen, 292 pages
Publication Date: July 3rd, 2012

Goodreads Description

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.

My Thoughts

So I kind of have some mixed feelings about this book. I don't know how to describe it. I feel as if I, myself, am in Neverland. Stuck in limbo between liking and loving this book. I'm still undecided. I think I have to percolate on this one a bit longer. Maybe I had too high of expectations going into it? Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. I definitely think this will be one of those books that I love more after digesting and thinking about it a bit longer. I digress. As always.

So Tiger Lily is a re-telling of Peter Pan, focusing on Tiger Lily, narrated by Tinker Bell. Already all the major players are involved before we even get past the first page. I love that the story is told from Tink's perspective. Because in this world faeries can read minds we get both an objective and subjective view of the situation. I found this to be so cool. Tinker Bell is an outsider but is so central to the story it is a fantastic balance of power of the narrator.

I want to get one reservation out of the way early and it actually leads into a huge compliment I have about the book. Confusing? Yeah, I know, but now you get a little insight into my mind about this. So, the story itself is completely intriguing. I am obsessed with fairy tales, I love re-tellings and this story was a perspective I never would have thought to explore. With that said it moved a little slow for me. This is both a plus and minus in my eyes. The plot moves very leisurely and unravels slowly which I didn't particularly care for BUT because it moves slowly we are able to be completely enveloped in Anderson's beautiful writing. And oh my, is it ever beautiful. This is my favorite aspect of the story. Her prose is just unreal. It is vivid and alive and Neverland seems real right in front of you. I cannot even begin to give justice to her skills with the written word. There are so many quotes I wrote down and took note of that I will highlight at the end of this post because it cannot be ignored. This writer is so talented, it is just amazing. 

Now onto our characters. Tiger Lily is the girl pushed aside in our Disney version, she is not the heroine in Walt's eyes...Wendy is. And if we choose to believe Anderson's view of the story, how wrong Walt was. Team Tiger Lily hands down. This beyotch is stronger, faster, better. She is an outcast in her tribe, the focus of all childhood torment, yet she is so much stronger and the better of it. She is cold and completely ignorant of the ways of human connection for the most part but will be the first one to stick up for somebody else being picked on. It's in her nature. She is a wounded girl who has no idea what to do with love or affection when it is handed to her. This makes her all the more endearing to me. 

Peter was a whole other story. I was never a real fan of him to begin with in all the movies (with the exception of the stage version with Cathy Rigby because that version is bitchin'). I just never really understood his point of view. Grow up, bro. Face the real world. And Wendy? Get a spine for goodness sakes. Don't wait for a man to always rescue you. Gag me. Unfortunately neither character gets too much sympathy from Anderson in her version of the tale either. Loved this. However, Peter did have some redeeming qualities that I found myself reaching out to. He was clearly a broken spirit and a very wounded and (pardon my pun) lost boy. He was the epitome of mixed signals. Pretending to be brave and strong and innocent and nice when in reality he was these things at some points...but he was also the exact opposite at others. I wanted him to fight more. Have convictions. Be a man! But alas, he is where we coin the term 'Peter Pan' syndrome for men, so what can I expect? Oh well. Lessons learned. 

The character exploration of Smee and Hook were also very interesting additions. Anderson gave these peripheral characters their own background, their own story, their own voice. This was genius to me. Because of this we are able to see the shades of gray that lie between the black and white of good and bad. Not everything is one side or the other unfortunately. 

The themes explored in the novel are what makes this book emotional. Obligation. Loyalty. Love. Determination. Tough choices are made. Good may not always conquer. And love is not as indestructible as one would want to believe. This book is harsh but truthful. I think it helps the reader explore that there can be another side to Happily Ever After.

Ok, so like I said, the more I think about this book and actually, while writing this review, I am loving this story more. The writing is beautiful. The words capture your heart. And the themes of love, heartache, obligation, and loyalty are so real and honest. It is not fast paced so be ready for a leisurely journey into Neverland. Don't forget the way. Second star on the right and straight on 'til morning...

Sorry, couldn't help myself. Had to quote Disney. Sue me. :)

Favorite Quotes

"She was fierce, to be sure, but she had a girl's heart, after all."

"She was the very picture of feminine mystery. All sharp teeth and soft lips."

“Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you've ever heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn't win.” 

“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.”

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