Peter Pan by JM Barrie
Published: First published 1911, published by Puffin Classics January 1st, 2002
Publisher: Puffin Classics
242 pages pages (paperback)
Genre: Children’s classics
Acquired this book: Gift
Warning: May contain spoilers
Synopsis: Peter Pan, the book based on J.M. Barrie's famous play, is filled with unforgettable characters: Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up; the fairy, Tinker Bell; the evil pirate, Captain Hook; and the three children--Wendy, John, and Michael--who fly off with Peter Pan to Neverland, where they meet Indians and pirates and a crocodile that ticks.
Unlike many people, I never read Peter Pan as a child. I grew up watching the Disney version and Hook. The reason I decided to read Peter Pan now is because I wanted to familiarize myself with the 'real' story before reading Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson.
I think this book has a brilliant, imaginative concept - how many children (and perhaps adults) dream of finding their way to Neverland, joining the Lost Boys, and never growing old? On the surface it’s a lighthearted adventure, but it’s actually quite heartbreaking. My heart ached for Peter, the original Lost Boy. He seems like this happy-go-lucky kid who loves his life, but his behavior is so worrisome - his forgetfulness, the way he needs Wendy without realizing it, the odd things he says and does. It was interesting how the story would go from lighthearted - kind of ridiculous in a funny way - to giving me this feeling of unease, like I just wanted to step into Wendy’s shoes and mother Peter myself, and heal all those emotional scars he doesn't even know he has.
I found it hard to believe that this is a ‘children’s book’ - the writing itself (which I found hard to follow - it had my eyes crossing at times because it was kind of nonsensical and everything was dramatically overstated), the violence, Tink telling Peter he was a ‘silly ass’ several times, and the way the parents spoke and behaved. I know for a fact I wouldn’t have enjoyed the book as a child, so I’m glad I didn’t read it until now! And I know this may be considered blasphemy to many people - and it's something I very rarely say - but I enjoyed the Disney version (and even Hook) far more than the book.
Overall, this was an amusing adventure with serious, emotional undertones that left me with mixed feelings. However, Neverland will always have a special place in my heart, as will the characters.
"...when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies" ~ Peter Pan
Have you read Peter Pan? What did you think? What's your favourite adaptation?