Saturday, January 11, 2014

Book Review: Peter Pan

Title: Peter Pan
Author: J.M. Barrie
ISBN: 0140621415
Summary: The boy who refuses to grow up teaches Wendy and her younger brothers how to fly. Then it's off to magical Neverneverland for adventures with mermaids, Indians, and wicked Captain Hook and his pirate crew in this illustrated, easy-reading adaptation of the classic fantasy. (via GoodReads)
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Finally, after years of being obsessed with Peter Pan (the Disney version), I settled down and read the classic novel written by J.M. Barrie. Honestly, it is certainly not what I expected but I loved it nonetheless.

"All children, except one, grow up." 

I was hooked from the very first line. Like most adults (can we really consider ourselves adults yet?) my age, I grew up with Peter Pan. Dreams of Never Land and a boy who never grows up haunted me from a young age. As a child, I was very much like Wendy Darling--a girl wise beyond her years--but in my teenaged years and even now, I became attached to Peter. I became attached to the idea of never having to grow up. Never having to face responsibilities in a world that asked for too much. 

However, the Peter Pan in the Disney movies and the Peter Pan brought to live through the words of J.M. Barrie are two very different boys. While he is carefree and quite rascally by Disney's standards, the book portrayed the darker, more sinister side of the boy who never grew up. Between my exploration of mermaids, indians, and pirates with Peter, Wendy, and the boys, I couldn't help but wonder what kind of life Never Land really had to offer. So I read a little more into the life of J.M. Barrie.

Mr. Barrie lived quite an interesting, albeit tragic life. As a child, his elder brother was killed in a tragic accident which scarred his mother so deeply that she was changed forever. As an adult, J.M. Barrie was a playwright who married one of the actresses in his plays. The marriage was short lived as Mr. Barrie was infertile leading his wife to cheat on him. However, he developed a relationship with George, John, Peter, Michael and Nicholas Llewelyn Davies. The four older boys became his inspiration for Peter Pan. J.M. Barrie lived quite an interesting life, if you're interested, definitely look him up!

I was surprised to find, as I was reading the book, that I was more drawn to Wendy than I've ever been. I'm not a very big fan of Wendy Darling in Disney's adaptation of the book, but as I read more about her, I could feel myself relating to her. She was such a grown up little Miss and I could see myself in her.

Some parts of the book were a bit slow and I'll admit that I might have skimmed through some of the fighting scenes, but overall the book was excellent! One part of me regrets not having read it as a child, but a bigger part of me is grateful that I didn't. Peter Pan, while it is a classic children's novel, is also very dark and very deep. Sure, it's meant to be a playful tale of adventure, but I also relate it to a mother's (or father's) loss. 

Overall, this book is beautifully written and it is absolutely haunting in the best way possible. I even had some dreams of Peter and Never Land every time I napped after reading this book. Would I recommend this book? Most certainly! It's such a fun tale and it has something in it for everyone. 

"Just always be waiting for me..."
Additional Reading: 
And that's that! My first book review for 2014!! Whooot! 

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