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C. P. Lesley

Bookworm, writer, radio host—I blog about history, fiction, and publishing in the Internet Age. You can find the full blog on my website. This space is for books.

Tiger Lily - Jodi Lynn Anderson

When I was a kid, my favorite book was Peter Pan—the original, not the Disney adaptation or the musical. I read it over and over, so when I saw a book purporting to tell the story of Tiger Lily, as narrated by Tinker Bell, it seemed like a natural fit. I love books that re-imagine classic literature; I've even written one of my own.

I'll start with the pluses. Tiger Lily emerges here as a fully formed character, and her attraction to Peter and his to her are well motivated and believable. The world of the Sky Eaters is beautifully and respectfully portrayed. For the most part, I enjoyed the writing, although the intrusion of phrases like "okay" and "have his space" occasionally knocked me out of the story.

But this is not Neverland. Peter is 16—a restless adolescent, not an indeterminate preteen. No one flies except the fairies, who read minds but cannot talk. Neverland itself is located in the undiscovered regions of our own planet, visited from time to time by ships, and apparently lost to the imagination now that few undiscovered lands remain. The pirates are a sad and sorry bunch of misfits. The mermaids, crocodiles, fairies, lost boys, and so on may have survived the retelling, but the beauty of Barrie's magical world has not. And some of the changes to the story are heartbreaking (I will not say more because of spoilers).

So it may work for you, but I'm afraid it did not for me. Although it does make me want to revisit the original one more time.