It has been four years since Wendy Darling has had any contact with Never Land. At that time her dog Nana snagged Peter Pan’s shadow away from him as he and Tinker Bell listened in at her upstairs bedroom window while she described the latest adventures in Never Land to her brothers, Michael and John. Since then Wendy has kept the shadow tucked away in a bureau, waiting for Peter to return for it.
In the meantime Wendy’s life has devolved into daily lessons, managing domestic duties while her mom socializes and shops, and trying to fit into the normal social life of a sixteen-year-old London girl—a task at which she finds herself hopelessly inept. She hides away her writings about Never Land because her brothers have moved on to more adult pursuits. Her parents, concerned that she is not preparing herself for her future life as a wife and mother, inform her that they have arranged for her a job as governess in Ireland. She is bereft at the thought of leaving London and abandoning the writing life that means so much to her.
Then comes Tinker Bell knocking at her upstairs window, so to speak. Peter is missing! And in trouble in Never Land! Wendy must come to help! Never friends but always competitors (in Tink’s mind, anyway), the two join forces on a quest to restore Peter to his position as leader of the Lost Boys and to save him from Captain Hook’s evil design of total destruction.
This is quite the reimagined slant on the Peter Pan story and presents some fascinating ideas about the power of literary creation. It also touches on such social topics as gender stereotyping and managing psychological stressors of jealousy, hate, revenge and retribution. It is really too sophisticated in parts for younger readers. (At one point Hook says, “I ought to shoot you in the head, you insane, Freudian dimwit. . . .We’re only Jungians on this boat, you know. . . .”) There are two references to Wendy’s threatened “maidenhood” but no sexual or offensive language issues otherwise. There are episodes of violence that might be frightful to young readers.