Monday, August 19, 2013

Review of Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily
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.

 From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

(Summary from GoodReads)


I had pretty high expectations regarding Tiger Lily.  Not only had I heard great things about this book, but there’s a lot of Peter Pan adaptations I really enjoy—this Peter Pan, Finding Neverland, Neverland, etc.  This spring I’d decided I’d heard enough positive things about Tiger Lily, and that it was finally time for me to give it a shot.  I even prefaced my read my picking up the original Peter Pan, just to give myself eve more context.  Tiger Lily is, whether viewed as an adaptation or an independent work, a story that is heavy with potential but poorly executed.

Tiger Lily is narrated by Tinker Bell, instead of by Tiger Lily, and this did not really work.  She doesn't speak and I didn't find the style poetic or lyrical. Normally I don't make that particular complaint, but this book had so little dialogue that Anderson really needed to knock it out of the park with either very lyrical or very spare prose. Unfortunately, she didn’t really do either, so the whole thing felt awkward.

Anderson’s novel focuses on the storyline between Tiger Lily and Peter.  It’s all about a deep, unrequited yearning Tiger Lily has for Peter.  All throughout the book, we see how bad Tiger Lily’s life is.  The people in her tribe don’t treat her right, and are constantly trying to pull her away from what she wants.  My problem?  The whole story was unconvincing to me because I didn’t believe that Tiger Lily truly loved Peter.  This review is challenging for me to write because I don’t know what it would have taken for me to believe that.

Many other reviews have felt a deep emotional connection to Tiger Lily and her plight.  Even though I read Peter Pan right before this one, I don’t think it tainted my reading of it.  Anderson wasn’t trying to rewrite Barrie’s classic, but instead tell it from a different angle, and it just didn’t work.  Tiger Lily is supposed to be a story of love and heartbreak, but I was never convinced that the love was truly there in the first place.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.

Other reviews:

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful, bittersweet, surprising, sometimes dark, and haunting, Tiger Lily is a story that's going to stay with me for a long time to come. These characters grabbed hold of my heart and won't soon be forgotten.

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