I picked up Wendy because I'm trying to prepare to host the Peter Pan prequels month in August. I already know I want to include Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson and Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth by J.V. Hart in our discussion so I've been searching for something different to round things out. Wendy is certainly different. As you might guess by the title, Wendy is the story of Wendy Darling's life before she meets Peter Pan.
This books takes a much more realistic approach than the other Peter Pan prequels I've read. Without spoiling too much, since we may be reading it, Wendy has no control over her life, her parents dictate who she will play with and a tyrannical nanny watches over her day and night. Her only joy is visiting Rosegrove, her uncle's estate in the country, where she spends her days reading to her friend Thomas while he paints. Wendy is stunned when she accidentally sees her father kissing another woman. Not even a summer at Rosegrove can help her avoid her confusion.
Wallace uses the societal constraints set on Wendy and the other members of her family to set up the Peter Pan story in original way that certainly adds depth to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan.
The School Library Journal & Booklist reviews both question who the intended audience of this book really is. Younger readers looking for a magical expansion of the Peter Pan story will not find what they are looking for in Wendy. Wendy is only nine-years-old and I can't imagine many nine-year olds enjoying the complex relationships in this book.