When I was a little kid Peter Pan was my imaginary friend, no joke, I made my parents feed him and buckle him into the car right along with me, I insisted that Peter and I were going to be married. It was actually because of Peter Pan that I got a sister; my parents thought I needed a friend. So of course I am already skewed toward liking Peter Pan retellings, but even if I didn’t have this sordid history with Peter I would have loved Tiger Lily.
The story is set in Neverland and follows Tiger Lily the Indian Princess who, in this story, is actually the adoptive daughter of the Tribe Shaman. Tiger Lily is a quiet loner, who is ostracized by the other kids and has never really fit in. Usually I do not relate well to this type of character but the narration and descriptions given by Anderson were so spot on and descriptive that you just can’t help connecting with her.
Tiger Lily was so much deeper of a read then I thought it was going to be. I picked this book up with the intention of having a light read, just a happy Peter Pan retelling but what I got was so much more! The heartache Tiger Lily goes through involving not only Peter but her Tribe made me teary eyed. Actually half way through the book I found myself wanting to take a break because everything was falling apart and I didn’t know how Anderson could ever make it better. I resisted this desire though and somehow the ending was not as sad as I had originally expected it to be.
My favorite part of this book though was definitely the symbolism and parallels to what happened in history. Not since I read the Generation Dead series by Daniel Waters have I seen such a great YA allegory of a historic event as I did in Tiger Lily. **Watered Down Spoiler Warning** Tiger Lily rescues a man from England and eventually he is brought back to the tribe. While at the tribe he begins telling everyone about his religion and converts the tribe. **Spoiler Over** I liked how true to history Anderson was in her descriptions of what was going on and how easy it was to get people to change their minds. I also like the inclusion of the group mentality and how easily people will turn on one another. The selective beliefs of a faith were also very interestingly integrated. It was definitely deeper then I expected the story to go but I loved every page of it!
Needless to say I loved this book (can I say that one more time?). It was heartbreaking, but remained so utterly real. It was a completely different story then Peter Pan and while at first this surprised me I was thankful for it. I was glad to read from Tiger Lily’s perspective and in the future I will definitely by reading other Jodi Lynn Anderson books!