"What is it you want? What is it you truly want? Because you'd better be careful what you ask for. In Neverland wishes are granted in very strange ways."
A Young Adult
novella-length feminist spin on Peter Pan
, featured in the short story anthology Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast
. It deconstructs the gender roles present in the original Peter Pan
with a heavy dose of metaphor
Darla is a girl who is upset at the chauvinistic undertones of the original Peter Pan
. She dreams
that Peter Pan spirits her away to Neverland and discovers that the hierarchy of the Lost Boys and Lost Girls is based upon oppression. With forces from both sides opposing her, she does her best to change the way that things have always been done.
Written by Jane Yolen
and winner of the 1998 Nebula Award
If you are looking for the television series, see Lost Girl
This work contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Darla has perfectly normal parents, but many of the Lost Girls had fathers that beat them or mothers that left them.
- Action Girl: JoAnne, who when threatened with the idea of facing murderous pirates, gleefully picks up a knife and rushes off towards them. She gives Smee a good stab and is the only girl who actually gets a hit in on a pirate.
- A Kind of One: Invoked by the Lost Boys. Girls (who used to be completely absent from Neverland) are referred to as "Wendys" because the very first girl in Neverland is named Wendy and none of them can be bothered to remember the actual names of all the other girls.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: The entire novella is a Alternative Character Interpretation Deconstruction of the characters from Peter Pan.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Peter cautions Darla against this when she tries to win equal rights for the Lost Girls. See the quote at the top of the page.
- Deconstruction: Of Peter Pan, of course.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Hoo boy...
- Peter is the head of the Lost Boys who wants to use the Lost Girls as a workforce for the most undesirable tasks. However he does not want to acknowledge them as individuals or to give them equal status and a fair share of the reward. On top of that he does not care for their welfare, viewing them as easily replaceable.
- Wendy is "original" Lost Girl who believes that women have it good as it is and that any changes are self-destructive and for the worse.
- The striking "Wendys" have a sign that reads, "EQUAL PLAY FOR EQUAL WORK".
- Faux Affably Evil: Peter. To elaborate:
Darla wiped her eyes, and spoke right to Peter. "My name is not Wendy," she said clearly. "It's Darla."
Peter looked at her, and there was nothing nice or laughing or young about his eyes. They were dark and cold and very very old.
"Here you're a Wendy," he said.
- Knife Nut: JoAnne, to a degree. It's hard to tell since the whole story is only about twenty pages long, but given the way she immediately reacts when presented with a weapon and an easy target...
- Never Grew Up: Considering that Lost Girls is essentially fanfiction of the Trope Namer, this is naturally a trope present in the work.
- Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Captain Hook and the pirates.
- Older than They Look: All of the Lost Girls other than Darla (a recent arrival to Neverland).
- Or Was It a Dream?: The bulk of the adventure happens after Darla goes to sleep, but several times she points out things that normally don't happen in dreams. At the end she wakes up with one of the Lost Girls sleeping in her room, conclusively proving that it *wasn't* a dream after all.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Captain Hook and his gang, much like in the original.
- Real After All: The whole story turns out to be this. See Or Was It a Dream? for more details.
- Really 700 Years Old: The Lost Girls and Lost Boys tread a thin line between being Really 700 Years Old and Older than They Look. No one grows up or ages in Neverland, but the majority of the children were taken from the real world within the last century. Technically everyone is immortal as long as they don't leave Neverland. Peter is at least a century old and creepily, seems very aware of it.
- Real Men Hate Sugar: Inverted; Darla hates all the greasy sugary foods that Peter insists they eat.
- Recycled With FEMINISM!: Pretty much the premise.
- Self Insert: In-universe with Darla entering the world of Peter Pan after objecting to the implicit message of the story.
- Sociopathic Hero: The original portrayal of Peter as kind of a Sociopathic Hero is subverted. In Lost Girls he's more of a Villain with Good Publicity, manipulating all the sheeplike Lost Boys and Lost Girls into doing what he wants them to with a casual disregard for their happiness, individuality or safety.