Hey Everyone! I recently finished Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, and instead of a review, I decided on going through lessons learned from this beautiful book. Just to start, I'm just going to say that I gave this book 5/5 stars. Though it did have some flaws, in its entirety, I absolutely adored this book. For those of you who haven't heard of it, it is a retelling of Peter Pan before Wendy came along from the point of view of Tinkerbell. Sounds crazy, but it turned out so mystical and poetic. It is a definite recommendation from me!Onto the seven things I learned from Tiger Lily...
Tiger Lily's father figure, Tik Tok, is the leader of their village in the book. But, in this version, a foreigner shows up and encaptures the villagers' devotion with stories of God, Heaven, and Hell. As the villager's loyalty turns to this white man and away from Tik Tok, they try to change Tik Tok into what they now believe will ensure paradise after death. Just a little background, Tik Tok takes pleasure in dressing in extravagant dresses and hairdos, it's a major part of what makes him himself, which up until this outsider shows up, the villagers accept. Now, with the pressure of Heaven over their heads, the villagers worry about Tik Tok's acceptance into this 'paradise' the white man has convinced them of. Because of this, they convince Tik Tok to allow them to cut off all of his hair and to get rid of his beautiful dresses. Lacking what made Tik Tok, Tik Tok, he shuts down, eating only when forced and rarely getting out of bed. In the end, he takes his life rather than live as only part of who he is.
With Tiger Lily and Peter's love was young, spontaneous, and independent. Neither needed the other, but they loved each other nonetheless. However, Tiger Lily and Pine Sap intertwined. Not physically, but they created roots around each other. Both were always near the other, always there for each other, with or without communication. It took Tiger Lily a long time to realize this was love too, it was just different than any other love she had felt.
There were two or three instances that proved this for me. Tinkerbell explains that fairy hearts like hers aren't 'elastic' like humans are, they can only truly love one person.While Tinkerbell seems to be rude towards Wendy is only struggling and heart broken because she just fell in love her one and only time with Peter of all people. She knows he can't reciprocate her feelings, but she has used up her one chance. Her three wishes are gone, her genie went back into his lamp. She can't have another chance at love, so she is forced to endure. My heart breaks for her, she has to spend her entire life loving one person who will never love her back the way she needs. I mean yes, he sees her when no one else seems to, but I'm not sure that's enough for her. If you didn't know this, she would just come off as rude and jealous.
Tik Tok said this to Tiger Lily and I think it's very true. “I'm not myself," she offered, guiltily. She softened around Tik Tok, and when she did she was, for those rare moments, girlish.
He smiled. "You can never say that. You're just a piece of yourself right now that you don't like.”
In Tiger Lily and Peter's relationship, Tiger Lily could not show weaknesses to Peter. She felt she had to keep up with Peter to gain his affection. This, however, backfired. Peter in his letter to her at the end said, "Did you know I always thought you were braver than me? Did you ever guess that that was why I was so afraid? It wasn't that I only loved some of you. But I wondered if you could ever love more than some of me. " Peter needed to know she was human, that she was capable of love, but did not find it in Tiger Lily, and for that, he left her.
Peter moves away. Tik Tok dies. Tiger Lily marries Pine Sap. All of these are ways of growing up. Not everyone in the book grows OLD, but everyone grows UP. Those aren't necessarily the same, growing old and growing up.
I absolutely adore this book. It is a memorable, haunting retelling of Peter Pan and I love it with all my heart. Comment your thoughts on these lessons, on the book or on anything! Salaam,