GOODREADS RATING: 5 out of 5 stars
It's been weeks since I finished reading Tiger Lily and I'm still thinking about it. I don’t know if I can write a review well enough to give this book the praise it deserves, but I’m going to try. I will say up front that if you like quick, light, popular and mainstream reads, this book is not for you. Similarly, if you are not a deep or emotional person, give this one a miss. Anderson’s writing oozes a frank beauty with wisdom sprouting from every other page. This isn’t a book you read; it’s a book you surrender to in all its raw truth as you let it wrap around you like jungle vines. You don’t read it, you get lost in it.
I’ve not read anything this good in a long time and it’s been years since a book made me cry this much. I knew it was going to be sad, but I didn’t know my heart would be torn out and stomped on. Maybe it was the way the author used words like they were arrows – and they always found their mark – or how completely she imagined Tinker Bell’s thoughts and struggles as a silent witness to this sad and beautiful tale. Or perhaps it pulled at the scars left behind by my own Peter Pan so very long ago. I don’t know. All I do know is that I’ve just read something very special that will stay with me forever.
Before Wendy, there was Tiger Lily; the strong, smart, wild girl that captured Peter’s heart which is a very difficult thing to do with a heart that never sits still and flutters here and there, and a mind that imagines things fiercely and seems to fear nothing. Yet, somehow Tiger Lily managed it and this is the slow, sweet, unfurling story of how she won her Peter for a little while. But love can be like a mermaid’s tail; mysterious, rare, and slippery to hold on to and this is something Peter and Tiger Lily would come to learn for themselves, because nothing ever stays the same, not even in Neverland.
'To love someone was not what she had expected. It was like falling from somewhere high up and breaking in half, and only one person having the secret to the puzzle of putting her back together.'
Tiger Lily has always been different. Abandoned as a baby and found by the Sky Eater Tribe’s medicine man, she’s never quite fit. She’s a little bit too clever which makes the tribe think she’s aloof and arrogant. She’s a faster and a better hunter than any of the boys which only makes them jealous. And she’s just plain wild which makes the adults tsk and frown. So when she meets Peter, she feels like she’s finally met her match. If anyone is aloof, it’s Peter, not her. He’s even wilder than her, can track just as well and is faster too. But while Peter can hypnotise people with his charm, Tiger Lily has never been very good at letting people in, or used to people liking her for that matter. Apart from Pine Sap; her loyal friend who has always tried his best to keep up, and TikTok; her adoptive father who likes to wear dresses and loves her for the gift she was to him.
The whole story is written from Tinker Bell's point of view and what a fantastic job the author has done of channeling the thoughts of a fairy! I loved how Tink's perspective was clear and innocent, like the simple thoughts of a child that sees the truth in things. Although Tink cannot speak, she can feel emotions acutely. She remains Tiger Lily's loyal shadow through everything and to me, she demonstrates the most important aspect of friendship - just being there - no words necessary.
The entire book is a dream to read. The writing is stunningly beautiful, truthful and heartfelt. I absolutely loved Tiger Lily and it is one I'll be re-reading for many years to come. Thank you Jodi Lynn Anderson for writing such a gorgeous book.
'Sometimes I think that maybe we are just stories. Like we may as well be words on a page, because we're only what we've done and what we're going to do. I know I'm only a faerie, a tiny speck in the world, but then I look at things I've seen and done, and I become a long scrawly line of something important.'
Amazon sales page for Tiger Lily