Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily - Jodi Lynn Anderson God, I am such a sucker. Give me an excellent ending and I will add at least one star to any rating. While reading Tiger Lily, I was merely whelmed. But then the final chapters slapped me in the face and made me cry and I’m like okay okay I’ve totally forgotten everything that was whelming since now I am overwhelmed! Just stop making me cry please! Please?What didn’t impress me was the narration. Although a daring choice, Tinker Bell narrating a story that belonged entirely to Tiger Lily held me at a distance. Tiger Lily’s feelings get lost as they’re processed through another character. Since this story is very much about the slightest changes in her feelings, much of these changes are difficult to observe from Tink’s perspective and thus, for the first half of the novel, I didn’t believe or care about the love story of Peter and Tiger Lily. They fell in love so fast but I wasn’t sure why or how or even when. If we had read about this courtship from Tiger Lily’s point of view, I think I would have connected more.There is also too much exposition. The first third of the book was lollygagging, plain and simple. It takes way too long for Tiger Lily to meet Peter and then it takes way too long for Wendy to arrive in Neverland. Of course, if you've read original Peter Pan, you will be awaiting these developments, and the amount of time it takes for them to happen will test your patience.I did appreciate how Anderson tweaked the tale to recount a much darker story about the effects of colonialism tempered by a bittersweet story of first love. Peter Pan has always been a story about time, a story about how time marches forward always. Always. In this retelling, the Englanders have arrived and push the native tribes of Neverland to adopt their culture. The effects are tragic. Yet the Neverlanders can only watch as the times change around them in a land that once was static. This story finds a lovely parallel with the love story of Tiger Lily and Peter. Both the Neverlanders and Tiger Lily learn that a moment exists only once. They learn that the evanescence of time can be catastrophic, and we see this lesson unroll on a societal level and on an individual level. That mélange of faults and strengths made Tiger Lily a fine but ultimately mediocre read. But then, much like in the source material Peter Pan, the finale is a tour de force. There is so much beautiful writing in the final chapters. The words drip with suffering. The fate of Neverland, Tiger Lily, Peter—the fate of every character—forces you to stare directly into the harshness and inevitability of time. It will hurt your heart.Every kind of love, it seems, is the only one. It doesn’t happen twice.