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Peter Pan | J.M. Barrie | Reviewed by Francesca

'Every child is affected thus the first time he is treated unfairly...after you have been unfair to him he will love you again, but he will never afterwards be quite the same boy.'- J. M. Barrie.

I think almost everyone reading this blog will be familiar with the tale of Peter Pan; whether you were read the story as a child, or, like me, parked in front of the much-loved, slightly glossier Disney movie, most of us have, at one time or another, come across the the Boy Who Never Grew Up (or, more aptly, the Boy Who Point-Blank Refused to Grow Up, Ever).
However, just in case Peter Pan is a story that skimmed by you, in some way or other, I'll give you a taster; Wendy Darling's a young girl from London - intelligent, practical, and kind. Peter Pan, a young man who possesses a serious disliking for 'grown-ups', soon recognises that she'd make the perfect make-shift mother for his gang of likewise young men, his 'Lost Boys'. Flying into Wendy's room one night, he offers to take her and her younger brothers on a trip to Neverland...and things are never quite the same again.

There's something oddly bittersweet about (re-)reading a childhood classic, particularly when your best memories of it carry a certain 'Disney spin'; the story itself is slightly grittier than I remembered, but then I suppose that was what I'd expected. Where themes seem playful, boisterous, in my childhood recollections, an eccentric Captain Hook and his band of oddly endearing pirates, the tone becomes more sinister in J. M. Barrie's original - right down to the tick-tocking of that crocodile. Whilst it's oddly rewarding, reading a version of the story that's so, ironically, 'grown-up', it does tarnish some of the shine a little. The narrative, in particular, is more than a little disjointed, with no real timeline. It has a child-like quality to it, certainly, but whether it's intentional or not is another matter entirely. Peter is arrogant, flighty - endearing, in his eternal boyish charm, but not lovable

Did I enjoy reading Peter Pan? So much so that I finished it in a day and a half. But as a separate entity from the story I know and love, in a way which is, considering the fame of the Boy Who Never Grew Up, ironically mature. Would I recommend giving it a read? Definitely - if only to remind yourself that not all children's tales are as 'sugar coated' as Disney might like us to believe.
3/5 stars

This review was written by regular reviewer Francesca, get to know her here.
Photo © Francesca Sophia.
 

3 comments

  1. I need to start reading more classics! And yes it's always interesting to get to know the original story behind the sugar-coated Disney versions :)

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  2. One of my favorite stories and movies! Absolutely love this!!! And that quote is so beautiful!
    xo TJ

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  3. Reading this right now and your review is spot on! Peter is in fact not really likeable...but I still love him somehow ;) and yeah - I too only had vague Disney recollections of this story and it is actually quite mature!

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