Monday, April 15, 2013

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

As a child, watching Disney’s Peter Pan was an exciting past time full of adventure, pirates, mermaids, and magic.  It was an easy world where pirates were vanquished and Peter Pan was good and kind.  Things weren't complicated and they always made sense. 
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And then we grew up.  Sorry, Peter.

Jodi Lynn Anderson’s Tiger Lily, however, offers a more in depth, adult look at the love story of Peter Pan
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and Tiger Lily before, during, and after Wendy.  Narrated by Tinker Bell, readers are offered a detailed background of Tiger Lily (a shaman’s adopted daughter who is being forced to marry a horribly tribe member), James Hook (an alcoholic ship captain who was desperate to find Neverland in order to stop aging), Smee (a serial killer from England recruited by Hook to find Peter Pan), the lost boys (captives of Hook who are rescued by Peter), Peter Pan (an un-aging 15-year-old boy who is desperately looking for someone to love him while he takes care of the lost boys), and Tinker Bell herself (a faerie with daddy issues who is obsessed with Peter, Tiger Lily, and their relationship).

This story follows the ups and downs of Tiger Lily’s relationship with Peter.  It is a fresh and exciting look at a story most people have been familiar with since childhood, but with a focus more on Tiger Lily  Anderson has created dynamic characters who will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

This story’s strength really lies in its ability to successfully turn a childhood story into something exciting and captivating for both young adults and adults.  This connection to childhood could really help readers relate to the story as they strive to find out more about beloved characters from their childhood.

Another strength this story possesses is its ability to appeal to both male and female readers.  Despite being mainly about Tiger Lily and Peter’s relationship, this story offers enough action, adventure, and humor to appeal to both male and female readers.

The only weakness I could find with this story is something that can't really be helped.  Anderson spends a good deal of time in the beginning of the story explaining each character’s in depth story line as well as redefining who each character is.  It is definitely a necessary part of the story, but it does drag a bit which may turn reluctant readers off before they've really given the story a chance.

Overall, I really really enjoyed this book and I think it would be a great piece to share with both high school and junior high students.


Henry Buckner said...

I like that fact that "Tiger Lily" is both a story that everyone has heard of before and how it appeals to both sexes. The last couple of reviews I've read have been on books primarily centered on girls and its just nice to have one that could gain both parties' interest; not saying that it's anything wrong with novels told from a girls' perspective. Despite the characters' in-depth story part you mention that was in the beginning, I would still give this book a shot. This story is one that could span across generations and leaves it up to the reader to interpret.

baboonfan said...

Tiger Lily could be an interesting look into multicultural voices. The voice of the Native American has been marginalized in the media and in literature. The most popular representations are of exoticism, or otherness, completely misappropriated through a Western White lens. Just think about it. Disney's Pocohantas is a complete retelling of the historical events, made more palatable to the child viewers, but that is what sticks in our minds. The reason Peter Pan hasn't been remade nearly as many times as other disney movies is the flack the corporation has recieved over the racist stereotypical portrayals of the Native Americans in the movie. While I do not hold incredibly high hopes that this book will present a more accurate portrayal, I do think it's a step in the right direction to give this character a voice instead of a position as an exotic tertiary character.

Nickolas Armstrong said...

As someone who grew up watching a VHS recording of one of the original stage performances of Peter Pan (Peter was played by a woman interestingly enough) I would be so excited to read this book. The story is one that everyone knows, and consequently I see young adult students instantly being interested in this story. I love how character development seems to have taken more of an adult form with additions to the characters past's such as serial killing, alcoholism, and daddy issues. It all fits in with the original characters so well, but really does manage to give the book a more adult edge to it. Awesome review, Based off of this I would definitely read this book!!

Leslie Shambo said...

Ah, Jessica, you took all the good books! I thought this novel sounded fascinating from the get-go, and am very glad to see you've given it a positive review. I was a bit surprised when I read the premise of this story, because I never really pictured Tiger Lily as a love interest for Peter Pan. Reading the story, I wonder if you were convinced of their feelings, or if you thought that perhaps they weren't really intended for one another?

It sounds like the issue of power plays into the novel quite a bit, which I am assuming makes it more interesting than your typical adolescent love story, although I could be wrong. I would be interested in knowing what other themes Anderson examines in the novel.

I suppose I will have to read to find out!

Alexandra Klitz said...

I think the whole revisiting of classic fairy tales trend is very interesting. This seems to be no exception. Tiger Lily really wasn't a well developed character from what I remember from the Disney movie; it would be really interesting to see how her have more of a character besides a racial stereotype or damsel in distress.