Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
“Sometimes he looked completely at Tiger Lily, as if she were the point on which all the universe revolved, as if she were the biggest mystery of life, or as if she were a flame and he couldn’t not look even though he was scared. And sometimes it would all disappear into carelessness, confidence, amusement, as if he didn’t need anyone or anything on this earth to feel happy and alive.”
Tiger Lily is the retelling of the beautiful tale of Peter Pan. In this story the narrator is the loved Tinkerbell, who narrates the love that existed between Peter and Tiger Lily before Wendy stepped into NeverLand. NeverLand is still the land where nobody grows old, there are pirates and there are Indians. The LostBoys are hated and Peter Pan is a creature that no one dares talk about. Except for TigerLily.
The beautiful and strong native girl meets Peter Pan and they innocently fall in love. They do not understand how a relationship works and how to continue loving each other, but they magically do.
“You’ll be my wife,” he said. He was trying to sound sure, but there was a fear on the last syllable, and she felt his heart beat harder. “Forever.”
TigerLily has to get married to one of the tribe members and she never told Peter for fear of ending their sweet relationship. However, Peter finds out and leaves her. Days go by and the Englanders arrive to the island giving new customs and culture to the natives trying to change them. TigerLily's father, who appears to be transgendered, is hated and he finally throws himself of a cliff.
“Peter liked to look over every part of her: her wrists, the strands of her hair, her ears, the tiny creases in her lips. And she was no better. She memorized the tiny constellation of freckles to the left of his nose, and the scars on his knuckles, the fan of his eyelashes, the many expressions of his face. I knew them almost as well as she did, because watching him love Tiger Lily was better than not watching him at all.”
Struck by her grief, TigerLily goes to find Peter to be surprised that a newcomer has found a place in Peter's heart. Wendy Darling, has come from England and acts much more like a girl than TigerLily ever did. She becomes the Mom of the groups winning Peter's heart and letting TigerLily alone with all her new found hatred.
Through her heartbreak, TigerLily makes a deal with the pirates to kill Wendy and Peter. As the betrayal happens, TigerLily realizes that she cannot let Peter die and saves him. Peter leave for England with Wendy and TigerLily is left with her tribe and the people who really love her. When Tink goes to England in hopes of finding Peter, he realizes how he never stopped loving TigerLily and how he grew old and is almost dying.
This story is beautiful. It is a bit slow at the beginning because there are like 20 chapters of TigerLily's life in the tribe and how people don't like her and how NeverLand works. The ending is magically constructed. It made me cry so much and it taught me so many life lessons. I was always a fan of Peter Pan and had always like Wendy but seeing the story in this perspective is really beautiful. Also, I must make note of the letter at the end, God that was so beautiful.
When reading the story wait until the background information is told, you will get bored at the beginning, but it is totally worth it because you suddenly get hooked into this deep story of love, heartbreak, and failing to do what you want. It is a somewhat mature story but I totally recommend it. I fell in love with it.
“I like to think that nothing’s final, and that everyone gets to be together even when it looks like they don’t, that it all works out even when all the evidence seems to say something else, that you and I are always young in the woods, and that I’ll see you sometime again, even if it’s not with any kind of eyes I know of or understand.”