by J. M. Barrie
Genres: Classic, Fairy Tale
Format: eBook (176 pages)
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.
Right away I fell in love with the writing. It was fascinating with it’s deep thoughts one minute, biting sarcasm the next and some very amusing honesty. It’s visual, easy to imagine and I could tell that it was a play first before this novelization came out. And the voice was just bursting with personality. A charming example:
If she was too fond of her rubbishy children she couldn’t help it.
– J. M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy (p. 131)
The whole story is this beautiful blend of imagination and reality. I was a little surprised at how similar the plot was to the Disney version. Disney usually chops those stories up until you can barely recognize them. Although the plot is technically the same, the book had a slightly darker tone than the Disney version. And I had to smile at the few unexpected Shakespeare references.
A theme that kept popping up was that children are carefree, innocent, and happy yet heartless. In a way they can’t leave the bad qualities behind without growing up and losing the good ones, too. The fact that Wendy stays away so long is because all children are completely confident that they can do whatever they want and they will still be loved. They are cocky in a way, like Peter. Another thing I found kind of shocking was the casual way in which they talked about killing on Neverland like it was some sort of game. Another example of heartless children. I also found it interesting that most of their make-believe games in Neverland were pretending to do adult things in an innocent and unexperienced way. It’s a harsh truth of childhood that they really can’t tell the difference between reality and imagination. Peter has nightmares that trouble him a lot mostly because they feel real to him. What struck me the most was how brutally honest this book was about childhood. As adults, we tend to forget all the bad things we’ve grown out of and glorify all the good things we miss. It’s bittersweet to look at childhood the way it really is because not all of it is pretty.
Tinker Bell’s character was quite saucy, naughty and highly entertaining. She mostly swore which I found kind of funny.
Overall, it was a beautifully written story about childhood so full of personality that it truly captured my imagination.
Content Rating: Mild, for some swearing. (Mostly the word a** coming from Tinker Bell occasionally).