Thursday, January 17, 2019

Second to the Left, and Straight On, by Jim C. Hines

★★★★☆ A cool new twist on an old favorite

(Peter Pan Pastiche) Angela Davis’s daughter was lost to the fairies some time ago, but she keeps looking for her and for other “Found Girls” trapped this side of Neverland. (5,311 words; Time: 17m)

"Second to the Left, and Straight On," by (edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2018.146 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This story is a complete inversion of the Peter Pan story. Instead of Peter Pan, there’s only Tinkerbell. Instead of being in Neverland trying to get to Earth, it’s on Earth where a group wants to get to Neverland. Instead of Lost Boys (unwanted children) we have “Found Girls,” who were very much wanted but were stolen. And instead of “first star to the right” we’ve got “second to the left.”

The Barrie quotes set us up to expect that everyone has his or her own personal Neverland, so we’re not surprised when Angela manages to take Tinker Bell to hers and trap her there. After all, Angela has as much power in her Neverland as Peter Pan did in his.

There’s a great deal of power in the symbolism here. In the usual order of things, we put our personal Neverlands behind us when we grow up. We remember them, and we smile, but we never go there as adults. But Angela’s Neverland is a place of pain. Her leaving it marks a big step for her towards healing.

On a much less serious level, there’s something about Tinker Bell becoming a cult leader that’s awfully amusing.

Con: Angela seems to beat Tinker Bell too easily. If this was all it took, why did it take her so long to figure it out?

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