“Every kind of love, it seems, is the only one. It doesn’t happen twice.”
I first learned about this book from a book club friend who really liked it about a year ago; I marked it as a wishlist and received it as a gift a few months ago. I’ve been planning to read it this year for my retelling challenge but not this soon. Just because of a book club activity, I started it the other day. (But I’ll be garnering just one point for this. LOL) But I’m glad I chose this, an appropriate book if you don’t want to stop reading.
I know that this is a retelling of Peter Pan, which the protagonist would obviously be Tiger Lily. I know that it’s not a happy story about her with the lines “Forget him. Forget him.” in the blurb at the back of my book. What I didn’t know is if Peter will also fall in love with her or if it would be unrequited love all along. And what I didn’t expect is how much this will make my heart ache.
One of the main reasons why I really like this novel is because it was told in Tinker Bell’s perspective. Tinker Bell told us from the start that because faeries are mute, it makes them see things. They turn their attention to observing. They are empathic, attuned to the beating of the heart that they are almost inside others’ minds. Plus, she’s a bit different than the other faeries because she gets easily bored, always curious, nosy even. These gave us the privilege to know the characters in a closer level. And because she can fly, we can also see overviews of things. All of these makes her a very unique and creative narrator.
I loved Tiger Lily from the start. I was affected when she changed, when she made bad decisions. She is fierce and brave, but also fragile and could be selfish, making her more real for me. Tiger Lily experienced a lot of suffering, with her being different from her tribe, being engaged to someone that she doesn’t like, and with changes in their community because of the Englanders. But of all these things that happened to her, Wendy scared her more than any other. In this story, I hated Wendy Darling, the girl we always like and know that is meant to be with Peter Pan. Anderson made me want to believe that it could be otherwise. Hoping against hope that it could be Peter Pan and Tiger Lily instead. I was like Tinker Bell, caring for her, rooting for her. We know Tinker Bell doesn’t like Wendy. And although we know she likes Peter Pan too, it wasn’t because of that. But it’s because how loyal and protective she is of Tiger Lily. I love their friendship. Although Tiger Lily seems not to care or see her in the beginning, Tinker Bell realized something when she was saved by her from drowning.
“You think you know that someone sees you one way, and barely at all, and then you realize that they see you in another. That was the night I realized Tiger Lily had seen-really seen-me all along.”
Anderson wrote it beautifully. The ending is sad and happy at the same time. It is heartbreaking but still hopeful. And since I like this story very much, upon hearing a sample of an audio book of this here in Goodreads, I would like to reread it by audio book. And hear Tinker Bell tell me this beautiful story once more.