New in Paperback: Alias Hook


Lisa Jensen, Alias Hook (2014)

 

Within its technicolor Victorian exterior, Peter Pan surely embodies one of the most bizarre legends of childhood ever created. With its mishmash of confused feelings about death, domesticity, female sexuality, and male aggression, the tale of the boy who refuses to grow up retains its hold on our imaginations, no doubt because these remain areas that confound and perplex us. But for some readers, including me, there’s something unsatisfying about it. What about a story that shows how there is actually magic in growing up, rather than just in avoiding it?

With Alias Hook, Lisa Jensen has created a past and a future for Pan’s grown-up nemesis, Captain Hook, that turns the story on its head. In this version, an adult is trapped in a child’s dream, which for him becomes an eternal nightmare. He can only be released by coming to terms with his feelings about death, domesticity, female sexuality, and male aggression.

This idea could have resulted in a dull sort of polemical tract, but Jensen makes her twisted tale just as thrilling and captivating as the original — in a decidedly adult way. Her reimaginings of the worlds of the pirates, fairies, Indians, and mermaids are solidly convincing, adding details and nuances that are lacking in Barrie’s cartoonish child’s-eye portrayal. And the central romance between Hook and a grown-up woman who makes her way to the Neverland, contrary to all of the little tyrant Pan’s rules, is both sexy and touching.

Ironically, as our sympathies transfer to Hook and Peter Pan becomes the villain, it causes us to wonder what caused him to cling so tenaciously to his sad, loveless childhood, and when he will get his chance at redemption. Topic for another book? I wouldn’t be sorry to see it, or anything else from the pen of Lisa Jensen. She’s an author worth watching.


Paperback release date: May 1, 2015

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14 thoughts on “New in Paperback: Alias Hook

  1. I have a problem with the Peter Pan story, too. This novel looks fascinating. I enjoy those kinds of stories that make me take a second look at a character, and your review makes me want to read about Captain Hook and see how Peter Pan becomes the villain.

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  2. I read Peter Pan last year and also questioned what was going on with Peter. It seemed too convenient for him to remain an irresponsible adventure seeker. I forgot about Alias Hook and I'm so glad I read your review. The book sounds very interesting! Do the Darlings show up at all?

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  3. I remember hearing good things about this book but haven't had a chance to pick it up yet. I'm not a big fan of the Peter Pan tale, but it's always interesting to me when villains are examined further!

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  4. Oh, I loved this one! You're right that the author did a great job addressing the many issues plaguing the original. I also loved how well she turned this into a complex adult story. It was wonderful! According to her site, she's planning on doing a retelling of Beauty and the Beast next and I can't wait!

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  5. I've had a hardback of this for awhile (bought from The Book Depository) and am excited about reading it. I may have to add it to the summer TBR. Your post about it has definitely reminded me to get to it–and I love Peter Pan re-workings.

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