Title: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
If you’ve ever wanted to visit Neverland, all you’d have to do is pick up a copy of Tiger Lily and immerse yourself in the rich world of pirates, natives, faeries, and the lost boys that Anderson has created so vividly. In many ways, reading Tiger Lily is much like being sprinkled with faerie dust yourself – magical, unbelievable, and emotionally touching. I’ll admit that I only picked up this novel because of its beautiful cover – honestly, how do you resist that? – but I found that it was so much more than its synopsis gave it credit for. There have been more than a fair share of mis-marketed novels over the past few years, and although Tiger Lily had the necessary components to thrill most of the blogging community, I originally thought of it as being just another cheesy fairytale love story. I have never been more glad to admit that I was wrong – very much so.
Tiger Lily, the adopted daughter of Tik-Tok, the shaman in the Sky Eaters tribe, is one of the loneliest girls in the world. She has had a reputation of being cursed precede her as she has grown up and struggles to fit in with the tribe that shuns her. Furthermore, she is forced to marry Giant, a brute who mistreats her at every opportunity, against her will. Thus, when Tiger Lily stumbles upon Peter Pan and the Lost Boys one fateful day in the forest, she cannot help but be drawn to this boy who seems to be almost as lonely as she is. Yet, as Tiger Lily will soon find out, first love isn’t all romantic and beautiful as it may seem – it is filled with pain, anger, betrayal, loss and, most importantly, dark change.
Tiger Lily is narrated from Tinker Bell’s point of view – a perspective which I found not only added creativity to this original tale, but also shedded a relatively unbiased light on this story. Furthermore, Tink has access to more than simply Tiger Lily’s side of this tale, making it a multi-faceted romance. Her narration is well-paced, entertaining, and emotionally poignant. I never expected a novel about Neverland to be so dark, painfully sad, or heart-wrenching, but it was. In many ways, that only made me love it even more. We are told from the start that this isn’t a happy love story, yet
Anderson writes in such a way that we hope against all hope that Tiger Lily and Peter can still be together. I found that their romance was displayed to us in such a way that we saw it evolve into something deeper, but we also saw the cracks in it.
That, more than anything else, is why I loved this story so much. If this novel were told from Tiger Lily’s POV, I’m sure we would have gotten an extremely biased interpretation of her relationship with Peter. However, with Tink as the narrator, we are able to see just how imperfect these two are and while we cannot help but love their romance, we are able to analyze and see it falling apart too. In many ways, Tiger Lily is a novel about first love, but it is also a novel about hope for future loves as well. While it explores the maniac, crazy, and often hormonal madness of a first love, it also presents us with a bittersweet lesson of what it means to truly love, live, and move on. I admired
Anderson for her realistic ending and although many readers may be saddened by it, I found myself liking it all the more for its truth.
Tiger Lily and Peter’s romance aside, I found that I was surprised by the many other themes in this story as well. For one, I found that the villains we are familiar with such as Captain Hook and Smee are truly explored in depth. We are given insight into what makes them the way they are and are able to understand them better for it. Furthermore, this novel revolves around change, not only in Tiger Lily, but within her village as well. It gives us a closer look into how ideals such as Christianity were spread into Native American tribes and enables us to see just how judgmental our world is compared to the more primitive times. In addition, I found the suicide in this novel to be most heart-breaking. I think it was the one aspect of this story that brought tears to my eyes and I thoroughly sympathized with Tiger Lily’s tough situation. I think it was handled very gracefully as well in the story and its impact on Tiger Lily was especially well developed.
All in all, I found Tiger Lily to be unexpected. While I was expecting a cute romance, I instead found a deep, provocative, and thoughtful tale. I loved seeing this story from
Anderson’s new perspective and it has renewed in me a greater love of the world J.M. Barrie originally created. Moreover, I admired Anderson’s writing skill in displaying each character’s strengths, weaknesses, and changes throughout the ordeals she put them through. I’ve fallen in love with this story – its realistic quality, its morals, and its characters. While its ending may not have been quite what readers may have wanted, it remains true to the world as we know it, proving that life goes on and continues in the most bittersweet of ways.