- Paperback: 94 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 6, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781503290280
- ISBN-13: 978-1503290280
- ASIN: 150329028X
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 225 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Peter Pan Paperback – November 6, 2018
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Barrie wrote his fantasy of childhood, added another figure to our enduring literature, and thereby undoubtedly made one of the boldest bids for immortality of any writer. . . . It is a masterpiece. J. B. Priestley --jjj
About the Author
J.M. Barrie was born in 1860, the ninth of ten children of hard-working parents in Scotland's jute-weaving industry. Fascinated by stories of her own life told him by his mother, he was determined to write, finding work on the Nottingham Journal after graduating from Edinburgh University. In 1885, he moved to London as a freelance writer and successfully sold the Auld Licht Idylls, a volume based on his mother's tales. By the time Peter Pan opened on the London stage in 1904, Barrie had written more than thirty novels and plays, many autobiographical and several of them major hits such as The Little Minister, Quality Street and The Admirable Crichton. Knighted and awarded the Order of Merit he continued writing into old age. He died in 1937.
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What I initially found fascinating about the book was it’s backstory. The author, J.M. Barrie was a successful playwright in England who eventually formed a tight-knit friendship with several young boys and their widowed mother, Sylvia Llewelyn Davies in the 1890s. The imaginative stories he invents for the boys to play-act later became the basis for “the boy who never grew up”.
The friendship between J. M. Barrie and the Llewelyn Davies family was famously deep and unusual. The author, himself, was in a sexless marriage, and Sylvia, the mother, was young, attractive and widowed. However, their relationship never progressed beyond a close familial friendship. This was probably because Barrie was a gay man, although his sexuality was never identified conclusively. Nevertheless, their relationship was so close that Sylvia eventually granted Barrie guardianship of her children upon her early death from cancer.
The family was deeply imaginative, and they enthusiastically took part in the playacting Barrie initiated. And the playing took on a vibrant intensity that I think was unusual. For example, The “Boy Castaways of Black Lake Island”, a novel that is enshrined at the rare books library at Yale, illustrates their adventures with mounted photographs and shows their deep investment to fantasy life. The deepness of their friendships, and their deep commitment to their fantasy life was eventually portrayed in the movie, “Neverland”, starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet.
As for the book itself, I found it very well-written, laugh out loud funny, and not a little bit weird. The book is full of hallucinatory images that could have been the result of a drug-induced mind. I found it curious that the play preceded the book since many of its surreal scenes could not have been reproduced on a theater stage. For example, the Lost Boys enter and exit their underground home by shimmying up and down tree holes like worms. The father of Wendy imprisons himself inside their dog’s kennel. So serious is his commitment to inhabiting the kennel that he even goes to work and to fancy parties while inside the kennel.
Lastly, I found the book’s attitude towards Never Land, and to fantasy, to be a little ambiguous. The whole assertion is that children’s imaginations are real, Never Land is real, and it is only because we stop believing as adults that we can no longer see Peter Pan, or go back to Never Land. However, while the children are in Never Land, they acknowledge that some of their play is NOT real. Sometimes they go to sleep hungry from the lack of real food, or when Peter Pan insists on eating pretend food. When the boys kill pirates, or when the Indians die, the deaths are taken lightly, as it would whenever children play. Peter Pan is the only character who is fully committed to their shared reality.
”Stars are beautiful, but they may not take an active part in anything, they must just look on forever. It is a punishment put on them for something they did so long ago that no star now knows what it was.”
I’m sure by now every child and adult knows of Peter Pan. As a child, we know him from a beloved Disney movie, where he takes Wendy Darling and her siblings and a daring adventure filled with pirates. This concept of Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up, remains with us through adulthood. Some adults even take on Peter Pan syndrome (famous case of this is Michael Jackson). Nobody really ever wants to grow up. The Disney version of Peter Pan is wonderful. There’s pixie dust, flying, Neverland, pirates, mermaids, Native Americans (a horrible racist song that goes with their introduction), crocodiles, and best of all The Lost Boys. It’s a magnificent tale and Peter Pan remains to be one of my favorite Disney movies (not my favorite, but in the top).
If you don’t know the story of Peter Pan, then I’ll tell you his tale. While the story of Peter Pan is his tale it also the tale of a young girl named Wendy Darling. Wendy is at the age where she must grow up. She must stop daydreaming of Peter Pan and adventures and do the things that young ladies do. Wendy doesn’t want that though. Her brothers are also content with her magnificent stories. Peter’s shadow finds its way into the Darlings’ residence and into the children’s room. Wendy helps Peter retrieve his shadow and they embark on a very dangerous journey to Neverland.
Now this is a little odd for me. I don’t read classics for fun very often. In fact, never until I decided to pick up a free copy of Peter and Wendy on my Kindle. I’m quite happy I finished this though. Even, if it did take me from August to December to complete it. I really struggled in some parts of this book, but I did enjoy it. It’s not amazing, but it’s a good classic. It has a solid storyline, characters, and a great world. I originally was in love with this story. I mean it has very strong points and it can make any lover of Peter Pan and Neverland fly with joy, but it also didn’t keep me reading. That’s why I’m giving it three stars instead of four. If I would’ve finished this faster and not put it down as much as I did, I would’ve definitely rated it higher.
The main character is Wendy Darling. (No not the blogger silly.) As a child, Wendy’s father almost gave her away because he wasn’t sure if he would keep her because she was “another mouth to feed”. Horrible thinking, I know, but this was how it seems a lot of fathers thought in the 1900s. It’s not the surprising if you think about it, but it is harsh.
Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 8
The main male character is Peter Pan. Peter Pan, while being a little boy, is quite the scary thing. He shows no concern for anybody and puts his friends’ lives in danger constantly. There were times when Peter actually scared me a bit. I prefer to think of him as the Disney Peter. While that version of Peter wasn’t as cruel he seemed more of a child who wasn’t cold-hearted.
Swoon Worthy Scale: He’s kid so that’s creepy
The Villain- is Captain Hook. Captain Hook is very violent. He takes pleasure in killing his men. At one point, it seems that Barrie kills a member of Hook’s crew just for the sake of it. The description was very detached and made Hook seem like more a psychopath. The odd thing is I don’t really see Hook that way. I’m not sure what my perception of Hook is. With all the movie adaptations and even this book, I don’t hate him. In fact, I prefer to think of him as the Hook from Once Upon a Time. I’ve never actually watched the show though only clips. (I swear I will eventually.)
Villain Scale: 7.5
One of my favorite of the odd characters is Nana. Nana is a Newfoundland dog and she is the children’s nursemaid. She takes care of the children and she loves them dearly. I love the concept of Nana. She is man’s best friend taking care of and raising his children. Tinkerbell, is also a very famous character. She has spanned her own movies and stories. She was never my favorite character and this book definitely made me like her even less. I do like where fairies come from though. It’s a beautiful little idea. Unfortunately, Tinkerbell does make a lot more sense with this tale. I understand her jealous of Wendy, but just because I understand her doesn’t mean I have to like her. I do love Michael and John. They were little Darlings, quite literally. Ah, puns. I can’t resist. I think the Lost Boys are quite the entertaining and fun bunch. They aren’t as adorable as the movie, but still fun to read about. I also read that apparently Barrie intended for Wendy to marry one of the Lost Boys, but never mentions his name. I thought this was interesting.
Character Scale: 8.5
There are so many different arrays of life in Neverland. I think that’s what makes it so spectacular. Anyone can find somewhere to belong in Neverland. There are pirates, mermaids, Indians, crocodiles with ticking clocks, and The Lost Boys. Who wouldn’t want to go to Neverland?
I do recommend this one. I enjoyed it quite a bit and it’s a fun story. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the ideal bedtime story for young ones, but I imagine anyone can enjoy this one. No matter how old they may be. We all have a little bit of Peter Pan within us and it’s always fun to return to the childhood story that started it all.
Cover Thoughts: My cover is literally nothing. I’m sure it’s like the classic ebook edition of Penguin classics.