She re-enters the Neverland, quite obviously knowing her way around. She guides us through familiar but new scenes, such as other tender moments in the Underground House and hunts in the jungles. She brings us to new places like the Fairy Glade and the entrance of the crocodile’s lair. Her grasp on the ethereal island is so imaginative, compelling and accurate, I’d venture to say Jones has been there herself. Surely she’s one of the adults who can still “hear the sound of the surf” and knows how to land.
And yet, by the same token, she steers way off course. But her new direction is far from uncharted. Although veering from the story we all know, it’s clear that Jones still navigates in Barrie’s blueprints. Carefully grounded, she plots her tale amid the set boundaries, while still managing to soar in the air often. Hook & Jill is not a continuation of Peter and Wendy, nor is it a paraquel. It’s a marvelous pretend turned real. Jones asks us to wonder what would happen if Wendy Darling gave in to her cravings for adventure. Cravings which being a mother to Peter Pan could not provide. As Wendy opens herself up to new experiences, so are we given an inspired and delightful new story in the Neverland. Every twist and surprise is balanced by an exceptional use of the original – from spot-on reactions of Peter Pan to extensions of Barrie’s logic. No detail is wasted and minute elements are deftly woven into the new material.
Jones rewrites the future, but also the past. For the timeline not only skews before Hook captures Tiger Lily, it branches off from the first story in Kensington Gardens as well. What Jones presents about the characters’ histories might be considered an imposition. But she expertly presents the reworking, both through her writing and her command of the sensitive bittersweetness of Barrie. What is technically a contradiction becomes necessary and gratifying, enhancing the themes of Barrie while strengthening the new vision of Jones. The right to navigate in two directions is well earned. Hook & Jill delivers a wonderful dream of the whole of Barrie’s world.
Andrea Jones, please lead us on into Other Oceans and beyond!
WARNING: Hook & Jill is not a novel for children, as Ms. Jones will be quick to say herself. This adventure explores the grown-up side of Barrie’s tale.
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Pan's at Yet Another Window...