My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Let me start by saying I never liked the Peter Pan story. It started when I saw Mary Martin flying on wires on TV, and thought to my 6 yr. old self, "That's a lady, not a boy!" It was downhill from there.
The blatant sexism of the book, the cruelty practiced by little boys who don't grow up with a moral compass, luring children away from those who love them...frankly, no one in that tale interested me (well, maybe the crocodile), except for the one truly adult figure.
Sure, he was a total villain, but he was interesting. He was flamboyant, he was a leader, he was devious and cunning, he was a pirate captain! What's not to like?
Lisa Jensen brings James Hook to life in a way that's marvelous for me as a reader, and as a feminist. When a drunk woman washes ashore in Neverland, it's Captain Hook who takes responsibility for her, because adult women are too threatening to Peter's boys.
Stella Parrish isn't a "wendy", a sexless little girl brought to Neverland to be a pretend mommy to the lost boys, to do the scut work and adore Peter. Stella's survived WWII, lost her husband and child, had a career, drinks too much on occasion and doesn't have a sylphlike-figure. She's a woman, not a little girl, and she wants to escape Neverland.
Stella and James' journey of self-discovery and redemption and adulthood is beautifully handled by Jensen, who takes a familiar tale and makes the reader see it, and analyze it, in a whole new way. This is a bedtime story for grown-ups, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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