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Peter Pan

Peter Pan

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Peter Pan, the mischievous boy who refuses to grow up, lands in the Darling's proper middle-class home to look for his shadow. He befriends Wendy, John and Michael and teaches them to fly (with a little help from fairy dust). He and Tinker Bell whisk them off to Never-land where they encounter the Red Indians, the Little Lost Boys, pirates and the dastardly Captain Hook.

Kindle Edition

First published December 27, 1911

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About the author

J.M. Barrie

1,435 books2,131 followers
Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM was a Scottish author and dramatist, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan.

The son of a weaver, Barrie studied at the University of Edinburgh. He took up journalism, worked for a Nottingham newspaper, and contributed to various London journals before moving to London in 1885. His early works, Auld Licht Idylls (1889) and A Window in Thrums (1889), contain fictional sketches of Scottish life and are commonly seen as representative of the Kailyard school. The publication of The Little Minister (1891) established his reputation as a novelist. During the next 10 years Barrie continued writing novels, but gradually his interest turned toward the theatre.

In London he met the Llewelyn Davies boys who inspired him in writing about a baby boy who has magical adventures in Kensington Gardens (included in The Little White Bird), then to write Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, a "fairy play" about this ageless boy and an ordinary girl named Wendy who have adventures in the fantasy setting of Neverland. This play quickly overshadowed his previous work and although he continued to write successfully, it became his best-known work, credited with popularising the name Wendy, which was very uncommon previously.

Barrie unofficially adopted the Davies boys following the deaths of their parents. Before his death, he gave the rights to the Peter Pan works to Great Ormond Street Hospital, which continues to benefit from them.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 15,203 reviews
Profile Image for K.D. Absolutely.
1,820 reviews
November 6, 2010
A story of a dead child and a mother who is missing him.

Sir James Matthew Barrie (1860-1937), a Scottish, wrote this book in 1902 for an older brother, David (his mother's favorite) who died in an ice-skating accident the day before he turned 14. Thus, in his mother's mind, David always stayed as a young boy who would not grow up. J. M. Barrie, a middle-child and then only 6 years old, tried to assume David's place in his mother's heart by wearing the latter's clothes and speaking and sounding like him. Barrie was 42 when Peter Pan (the character) first appeared in his other novel, The Little White Bird but the emotion of longing (the child missing his mother and the mother missing his son) can be felt by the readers as if the death only happened recently. For me, this attests to Barrie's brilliance as a novelist.

They say that losing one's child is the most painful grief that a parent can have. A parent burying his child is in contradiction to the natural cycle of life. Thus, it is a lifelong journey of grief for the parents. The very young Barrie saw this pain in his mother's heart and so he tried his best to act, speak and sound like his brother. A mother missing her child. In the story this is symbolized by the open bedroom window waiting for Wendy, John and Michael to return. When they finally do, Peter tries closing it but when he sees the tears in Mrs. Darling's eyes, he says "we don't want any silly mothers'"; and he flew away. making it a triumph of a mother's unconditional heart. A child longing for his mother's love. This is symbolized by Peter asking for Wendy to be his mother and probably Tink and probably even Mrs. Darling. This is the moral of the story: we all need mothers especially those whose windows are and will always be open for us.

A beautiful book. Mesmerizing prose. A fantasy adventure children's book on the surface. But a sad emotion-filled story of a mother and her son somewhere inside. It has the ethereal beauty of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's Le Petite Prince and the subtle meaningful cycle-of-life lesson in E. B. White's Charlotte's Web, two of favorite children's books. My only regret is that fathers like me are sidelined. We fathers have hearts too and we would like to be part of that love. Why did Barrie depict Mr. Darling as crazy feeding Nana his medicine and has to sleep in the kernel?

You see, my windows are also open.

Profile Image for Pauly Rodriguez.
1 review2 followers
November 15, 2021

Ever so beautiful and tragic

Peter Pan was a favorite when I was a child. It was a lovely thing to dream of a place called Neverland, where one may fly with fairies and splash with mermaids.

As an adult, you realize the truth of what Barrie himself once said… that he’d written a tragedy. Beautiful, selfish Peter, who forgets things so easily, has no realization of what he has cost himself, in his efforts to remain forever young. We realize it for him, and so the ending of Peter Pan is bittersweet, for we experience a fullness to our lives, that he will never know.
Profile Image for Asael Dreyer.
1 review
November 16, 2021
I always loved Peter Pan, not really as a kid but more as a teenager and young adult. And once again, the internet happened and every discussion or mention of Peter Pan ended up in a “but did you know he is actually a serial killer and way worse than Hook?” so I grew tired of it and decided to check it out for myself!

The good :
- I ALWAYS love a very biased narrator and it’s clearly the case. They just dunks on the children for not caring about what they parents might feel with them being missing for days. And a sentence after they just DESTROYS the mother because they just can’t stand her. And that kind of pettiness makes the entire story so freaking hilarious and really something special. He also has some kind of power like deciding which pirate is going to get murdered or throwing a coin to decide which story to tell (and then being unhappy with their choice but still sticking to it)
- Peter Pan is a terrific character and I absolutely get how and why he turned into such a popular one. Let me be clear, yes he does kill lost boys when they grow up but not in a very sinister way if that makes sense? It just goes against his rules and he throws a temper in a very childish manner which makes sense with his character and depending on your point of view makes it worse or not.
He IS a child and a flying jerk but he is fantastic! Being dressed in leaves is HIS things so all the lost boys must wear furs is one examples. Also him switching side to fight on the side of the pirates because the fight is not fair now? You know, especially because the sudden lack of pirates is due to Peter murdering them two seconds ago?
- I love how, unlike in the movie, the kids actually stay in Neverland a few days-weeks unlike a single night.
- Wendy has a pet wolf just like in her daydreams but she forgets about said pet and it just vanishes from the narration and I found that level of detail really funny.
- Hook is great and I loved the crocodile part and its explanation. He also, kinda, faces his ultimate demise with dignity? I really liked that he was a merciless pirate but still had a sliver of decency: he found Peter unarmed and asleep and he was going to murder him but he is “I can’t kill my arch nemesis who looks like a child in his sleep” and then Peter just smirks in his sleep like a lil shit and Hook is “Nvm, murder it is”!
- I loved that the parents’ portrayal is different from the movie’s. Especially the father who is not such a flat character, he is nicer and kinder here.
- I knew of it but I still loved the ending! Both of the lost boys being adopted by the Darlings and Peter forgetting to visit Wendy because he never keeps track of time. Him not remembering Tinkerbell is brutal tho, especially since she became such a break-out character!

The bad:
- Obviously negative points for the treatment of the Natives. And don’t even start with the “It’s very one dimensional and racist because they are made up version imagined by children growing up with colonial source materials” and let’s be honest for a second. When the movie version that is TERRIBLE about this is better than the book, you know you fucked up!
Profile Image for Luca Ambrosino.
83 reviews13.7k followers
February 5, 2020

«All children, except one, grow up.»

The incipit of Peter Pan of J.M. Barrie is the perfect synthesis of the book. I will try to make the point using as inspiration the words of a child, namely three phrases from my daughter Arianna while in the evening she was listening in her bed my reading of Peter Pan (seventeen chapters read on as many nights with the emphasis of a talented narrator):

1 - "Peter Pan is a bad guy" Yes, my daughter did not like to the protagonist of the novel. I did not investigate the reason for her grudge. Probably she didn't like the fact that Peter doesn't want to grow. Not strange, when you are a child usually you want to grow because several tings are forbidden, etc. It is only when you realize that those years are forever lost that you regret for the lost childhood. Everything normal.

2 - "But why Hook have to die?" My daughter almost burst into tears in the solemn moment of the pirate's death. The bad guy of the novel is not that bad after all? I like James Uncino too (it is obvious that the question was asked by the blood of my blood). Actually, it is the death of a central character that shakes the mind of children, a character they started to know and whose presence they are used to. And punctually the tremendous question arrives: "Why do we have to die?" (dear Arianna, if I exactely explain it to you, maybe you also become like Peter Pan, a child who refuses to grow). I buy time and go further.

3 - "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" The scream is thrown by my daughter when Peter Pan closes the window of the children's room to prevent their home return. I think that one of the things that terrorizes more a child is to stay without their loved ones. The strenght and especially the desire to break away from the family is perhaps the best indicator of the lost childhood.

I instinctively associate Peter Pan with the The Little Prince of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. However, although speaking the same language (that of children), and dealing with common themes, I enjoyed more Peter Pan and its sad and sweet conclusion. Imagination is a powerful ability, but it is consumed by time. You just have to use it as long as you can. Thereby children fly with their minds and their hearts:

«It is only the gay and innocent and heartless who can fly»
Surely, being all three things at the same time when you are an adult is impossible.

Vote: 8


«Tutti i bambini crescono, meno uno»

L'incipit di Peter Pan di J.M. Barrie è la perfetta sintesi di tutto il libro. Vista la tematica, cercherò di fare il punto della situazione utilizzando come spunti di pensiero le parole di una bambina, vale a dire due frasi pronunciate da mia figlia Arianna mentre la sera ascoltava nel suo letto la mia lettura di Peter Pan (diciassette capitoli letti in altrettante serate con un'enfasi da narratore rodato):

1 - "Peter Pan è un cattivone" Ebbene si, mia figlia non ha preso in simpatia il protagonista del romanzo. Non ho indagato a fondo il motivo del suo rancore. Probabilmente è stato il voler rimanere bambino a tutti i costi che a mia figlia proprio non è andato giù. Non c'è nulla di strano in questo, quando si è bambini si vuole crescere, parecchie cose ti sono proibite, etc. E' solo quando ci si rende conto che quegli anni sono persi per sempre che si rimpiange la propria fanciullezza. Tutto nella norma.

2 - "Ma perché Uncino è dovuto morire?" Mia figlia è quasi scoppiata in lacrime nel solenne momento della morte del pirata. Il cattivo del romanzo dopotutto non è poi così cattivo. A me James Uncino è sempre stato simpatico, difatti (è evidente che a formulare la domanda è stato il sangue del mio sangue... tesoro di papà!) In realtà è la morte di un personaggio centrale che scuote l'animo di un bambino, un personaggio che hai cominciato a conoscere e alla cui presenza ti sei abituato. E puntuale arriva il tremendo quesito, La Domanda con la D maiuscola: "Perchè dobbiamo morire?" (Cara Arianna, se te lo spiego per bene, magari diventi anche tu, come Peter Pan, una bambina che si rifiuta di crescere). Tergiverso e vado oltre.

3 - "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" L'urlo di disappunto viene lanciato da mia figlia quando Peter Pan chiude la finestra della camera dei bambini per impedire il loro ritorno a casa. Credo che una delle cose che terrorizza di più un bambino sia il rimanere senza i propri cari. La capacità e soprattutto la voglia di staccarsi dalla propria famiglia è forse il principale indicatore per la perduta fanciullezza.

Istintivamente mi viene da associare Peter Pan al Il piccolo principe di Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Tuttavia, pur parlando la stessa lingua, quella dei bambini, e trattando tematiche comuni, ho apprezzato di più Peter Pan e il suo finale triste e dolce. L'immaginazione è una capacità potente, che però va affievolendosi col tempo. Non resta che sfruttarla appieno fin quando si può. E allora volano con la mente e con il cuore i bambini.

«Solo chi è allegro, innocente e senza cuore può volare»
Una cosa è certa: da adulti, essere contemporaneamente tutte e tre le cose è impossibile.

Voto: 8

Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51k followers
September 26, 2022
I read this to Celyn. It's a short book. Google tells me 47,000 words but it felt shorter than that.

Many of us know the story second hand through cartoons, Hollywood adaptations, and picture-books. The original item is not that dissimilar, though it's a fair bit more brutal that the cartoons and having been published in 1911 it's 100 years out of date when it comes to Native Americans!

The first thing to note is that it's not just the Never-Land that has a surreal, imaginary feel to it. The Darlings's home life is rather odd, with a dog acting as nursemaid to the three little Darlings, performing such tasks as getting them dressed, bathing them, and giving them medicine...

I liked the imagination on display where Peter Pan's shadow is torn off as he leaves in a hurry and the children's mother rolls it up and stores it in a drawer. Later Wendy sews it back on.

The main difference is in how callous Peter Pan is, and how he stays true to this self-absorbed character the whole time with no softening. He doesn't give a damn about the Lost Boys or Wendy's brothers. Tinkerbell is likewise remorseless, repeatedly attempting to get Wendy not just sent home but actively killed.

In the battles the boys have knives and use them to kill people. It's all in the bang-bang-you're-dead vibe of children's games, but the fact remains that pretty much every person on the Never-Land island is killed with violence by the end of the book. This includes most of the Redskins (whose portrayal in the manner given here would fall south of the racist-border in any of the last 4 decades), and pretty much all of the pirates. Even Wendy gets shot with an arrow at Tinkerbell's behest, though she turns out to be alright due to some rather hard to visualize complication with an acorn.

One surprise for me was that Captain Jas. Hook appears to be our pirate captain's real and longstanding name. The fact he now has a hook for a hand being pure coincidence!

Anyway - the book is full of good things, from the ticking crocodile to the invention of the Wendy House.

And Peter Pan, true to his word, never grows up. True to his character he soon forgets about Wendy, returning many years later and fixing his attentions to her daughter, and later granddaughter.

I'm withholding the 5th star simply because much of the description is rather vague, summary, implausible or all three together, so it can be hard to visualize/believe in the scenes.

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Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
402 reviews3,495 followers
April 14, 2023

This week, I went to a local park, sat at a picnic table, and started to read Peter and Wendy to two children. Within seconds, every child in the park, all children that I didn’t even know, sat at the picnic table, engrossed in the story.

Peter and Wendy is the story that we know as Peter Pan. Some of the content has not aged well, and some of the language is a bit strong for young children. However, the fantasy is really top notch: mermaids, pirates, flying, a ticking crocodile, and fairies.

Peter Pan was originally a play in 1904 and a novel in 1911. The novel contains 11 different pictures. My copy was a reprint of the 1911 novel, and it does look like you are reading from a secret, magical, enchanted book. It felt like reaching into the past every time I picked up this book, and it felt like a special experience. This is one instance where I would highly recommend ordering a hardcover copy.

In terms of the endings, this is a textbook strong ending. It stirs something deep in my soul. My little readers asked me to read it twice. If you are a writer, I highly, highly recommend reading this.

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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
August 29, 2021
‎Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie

Peter Pan is a fictional character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie.

A young boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood having adventures on the mythical island of Neverland as the leader of the Lost Boys, interacting with fairies, pirates, mermaids, Native Americans, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside Neverland.

The story has a special language; The author is always present in the story, commenting on the characters, and their actions, and this adds to the sweetness of the story; Finally, the question arises, can everyone fly to the imaginary world of "Peter", and to "nothingness"?

The answer is, Only happy, innocent, and imaginative people can go there; Only those who want to remain a child; Those who have good and beautiful thoughts, and with them they rise into the air; Listen, can you hear the jingle?

This is the sound of a "fairy" ringing; You can take yourself to the fantasy world with his bell; Or not, stay here; The choice is yours.

Peter Pan, by James Matthew Berry, is a popular children's classic, first written in 1901; "Barry" also staged a play of it in 1904; Since then, the same play has been performed over and over again.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «پیتر پن»؛ «سفر به سرزمین خیالی»؛ نویسنده: جیمز متیو بری؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیستم ماه اکتبر سال2003میلادی

عنوان: پیتر پن - خلاصه شده؛ نویسنده: جیمز متیو بری؛ تلخیص: جان کالینز؛ مترجم: امین اظهری؛ تهران، حنانه، 1380، در 39ص؛ شابک ایکس-964596130؛ موضوع داستانهای کودکان و نوجوانان از نویسندگان اسکاتلند - سده 20م

عنوان: پیتر پن؛ نویسنده: جیمز متیو بری؛ مترجم: مهدی غبرائی؛ تهران، نشر مرکز، کتاب مریم، 1381، در 208ص؛ شابک 9643056686؛

عنوان: سفر به سرزمین خیالی؛ نویسنده: جیمز متیو بری؛ مترجم: زهرا حصارپرور؛ بازنویسی جواد داعی؛ مشهد، جام آپادانا، 1381، در 12ص؛ داستانهای تخیلی برای کودکان سنی الف و ب؛ شابک 9647728069؛

عنوان: پیتر پن؛ نویسنده: جیمز متیو بری؛ مترجم: رامک نیک طلب؛ تهران، قدیانی، 1389، در 240ص؛ شابک 9789645365231؛

ماجرای سفر سحرآمیز کودکان، به جزایر خیالی است؛ جزایری که به گفته‌ ی «بری»، نویسنده‌ ی همین کتاب، هر کسی ممکن است آنجا را ببیند، «پيتر» پسری است، که هرگزی بزرگ نمی‌شود؛ شبی که خانم و آقای «دارلینگ»، از خانه بیرون رفته بودند، «پیتر پن»، به خانه آنها فرود آمد؛ چیزی نگذشت، که به «وندی»، «جان» و «مایکل»، کودکان خانم و آقای «دارلینگ»، پرواز کردن را یاد داد، و آنها، در هیجان انگیزترین ماجرای عمرشان، به پرواز درآمدند، و به «هیچستان» رفتند

بچه ها در «هیچستان»، به «پریان دریایی»، «دزدهای دریایی»، «سرخ پوستها»، «خانه ی زیر زمینی»، «تالاب پری دریایی» و «کاپیتان هوک» برخوردند؛ «هوک» که فرمانده «دزدان دریایی» است، در یک حادثه، یک دستش، توسط یک «تمساح» بلعیده شده است؛ «هوک»، «پیتر» را دوست ندارد، و همین، ماجراهای عجیب و غریبی، برای «پیتر» و بچه ها میآفریند، که تنها، با خوانش داستان برای شما گشوده میشود

داستان زبان ویژه ای دارد؛ نویسنده، هماره در داستان حضور دارد، و راجع به شخصیتها، و کنشهای آنها، اظهار نظر میکند، و همین، به شیرینی داستان میافزاید؛ در پایان، این پرسش پیش مبآید، که آیا همگان میتوانند به دنیای خیال «پیتر»، و به «هیچستان» پرواز کنند؟ پاسخ این است «تنها آدمهای شاد، معصوم، و خیالپرداز، میتوانند آنجا بروند؛ تنها آنهایی که، دلشان میخواهد کودک باقی بمانند؛ آنهایی که، اندیشه های خوب و قشنگ دارند، و با آنها به هوا بلند میشوند.؛ خوب گوش کنید، آیا صدای جرینگ جرینگ را میشنوید؟ این صدای زنگوله ی یک «پری» است.؛ میتوانید خودتان را، به زنگوله ی او آویزان کنید، و به دنیای خیال بروید.؛ یا نه، همینجا بمانید.؛ گزینش با شماست.؛ «پیتر پن»، اثر «جیمز ماتیو بری»، از آثار کلاسیک، و محبوب کودکان است، که نخستین بار، در سال 1901میلادی، نگاشته شده است؛ «بری» در سال 1904میلادی، نمایشنامه ای از آنرا، بر روی صحنه نیز بردند.؛ از آن هنگام، همین نمایشنامه، بارها و بارها اجرا شده است

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 27/08/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 06/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,439 reviews78.1k followers
June 28, 2018
Oh boy. I'm not sure what to say other than I cannot think of one aspect I enjoyed about this book. I tend to gravitate toward dark, disturbing, and twisted stories (what does that say about me???), but this was just sad with no pay off. Each page felt like a chore to get through and I didn't even find the illustrations redeeming. I'm clearly in the minority, but I may have possibly been bit by the old "heard the story so many times that the original feels like a rip off" bug. Definitely not my cup of tea and I shall choose to bury my head in the sand and pretend this version does not exist. ;) The only reason I didn't DNF this was A) I'm trying my hardest to finish all my popsugar books if possible and B) I try not to DNF books under 200 pages if possible. Rant is over and now I'll move on to the next read!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,534 reviews32.4k followers
July 13, 2019
‘all children, except one, grow up.’

perhaps i could call it a quarter life crisis, but i am definitely experiencing a little bit of peter pan syndrome lately. and this story is that wonderful adventure through childhood nostalgia that i am desperately needing.

a bit old fashioned, for sure, but this so perfectly captures what it means to be a child - to long for grand adventures, comprehending how belief alone can allow you fly, and how wishing on dreams will always be the greatest pastime.

so when i get in those deep moments of adulthood, where i forget what it means to be a child, i know i can always head to the second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. and there, peter pan and the lost boys will be waiting for me.

4 stars
Profile Image for Nayra.Hassan.
1,260 reviews5,358 followers
February 2, 2022
التخلص من قيود الرجولة والعودة لانطلاق الطفولة هو الحلم الكامن في أعماق الرجال و حققه لهم بيتر بان "الصبي الابدي"👿 بطل أرض المستحيل :لا للابد..نيفر نيفر لاند
الكل منطلق يلعب ويلهو و ينغمس في المغامرات للابد
حتى تاتي هادمة المغامرات و مفرقة العصابات : ويندي ..سرعان ما تمل من حياتهم و تقرر العودة للعالم الواقعي مصطحبة معها كل الأولاد عدا من؟ بيتر بان الذي يصبح رمزا ابديا لهذا النوع من الرجال الذي يأبى النضوج و الزواج و توابعه

و بصراحة انا احترمه جدا و اهنئه على صراحته العذبة التي لو تمتع بها نصف رجال الارض لاختلفت للافضل بما لا يقاس

و✒ اهنيء ماثيو باري على براعته في عرض فكرة ابدية ببساطة السهل الممتنع ...ليصبح بيتر رمز لكل من يطارد أحلامه حتى يصطادها ...ليصل لسر سعادته
Profile Image for Lea.
117 reviews338 followers
May 31, 2021
“To die will be an awfully big adventure.”

Peter Pan was one of my favorite childhood stories and I'm in awe of the layers upon layers I discovered reading it now as an adult. The narrator is inconsistent, almost vicious, changes opinions and switches sides, sometimes rude and insensitive, but always charming. The book is witty and sassy, and genius in a light, carefree way it touches heavy topics. If you are not paying attention a lot of content can go over your head, as almost every sentence can start a meaningful discussion. As with every truly great work of art, there is more than one perspective and approach in giving the interpretation, so I will fit only the ones that were most striking to me personally in this review.

The story opens with Wendy picking the flowers for her mother in what can be seen as an alteration of the garden of Eden. From then on, before even being two years old, Wendy has a realization that she will eventually grow up.

“Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!” This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.“

Wendy is pressured to grow up - by society, by her parents, especially her father, and mostly by her age. In time Peter Pan appears, her maturation and sexual awakening have already begun:

“Now Wendy was every inch a woman, though there were not very many inches, and she peeped out of the bed-clothes.“

It is evident that Wendy has a deep internal conflict - of both wanting to preserve her innocence and childhood and grow into a mentally, emotionally and sexually mature woman.
At that very moment, Peter Pan arrives - the symbol of eternal childhood, innocence, carelessness, playfulness. The name Pan is alluding to Pan from Greek mythology, god of the wild, nature, rustic music and impromptus, and companion of the nymphs. Pan in Greek means “all“, “of everything”, in this context symbolizing the endless undifferentiated potential that a child is.
The vital part of growing out is letting go and mourning the freedom, wilderness, and carelessness of childhood and youth, and the theme of growing up and death go hand in hand. It is not by chance that both Michelangelo and Goethe were in the formatting age of adolescence, the final formation of identity when they made Pieta and The Sorrows of Young Werther, works deeply entailed with the theme of death and dying. And it is not a wonder that Peter Pan, on the other hand, can be interpreted as the angel of death.

“There were odd stories about him, as that when children died he went part of the way with them, so that they should not be frightened.“

He takes the children to Neverland, a world somewhere out of reality, where a person never grows up, and is forever fixated in the state and age in which they arrived. That could be seen as children that die at a young age, as Barrie's brother David did, that deeply affected him, but also, as childish parts that inevitably die in our process of growing up, ones that we cannot carry in adulthood.
Peter, could also be seen as Wendy's double, as the doubling effect is present thought the novel. As a side note, Barrie insisted in times that play was performed that a girl should always play Peter. Peter is exactly Wendy's size, as it is stated in both mind and body, alluding that Peter could be a part of the Wendy herself- the one part that takes her to the Neverland to an adventure, other space that is need for children to safely act out their inter psychic conflict.

“Wendy assured her confidently, “and he is just my size.” She meant that he was her size in both mind and body; she didn’t know how she knew it, she just knew it.“

Interestingly, J.M. Barrie's grandmother died when his mother was just 8 years old and she was forced to grow up prematurely and take on adult responsibilities before time. Peter indeed carries Wendy's combative, confrontational parts, and also is brave, confident, and skillful enough to go in the battle with Captain Hook, the adult world pushed upon her.

Captain Hook is another complex character. He is an adult figure in the children's world, a figure of both authority and danger, always on the quest to destroy and kill Peter, and bend children to his own rules in making them a pirate and forxing then to take adult responsibilities. The captain is a personification of what the child perceives as a tyrannical part of the father, the imaginative double of Wendy's real father, Mr. Darling. It is interesting that Barrie also insisted that the same actor plays on stage Mr. Darling and Captain Hook. Captain Hook hates Peter and everything that he represents and is on a constant quest to destroy him, as adults pressure children to grow up, take responsibilities, and more often than not, in the upbringing of children unintentionally kill off the innocence, the carelessness, and at the same time, sadly, the playfulness and childrens fantasy and imagination. Mr. Darling is described at the beginning of the story as a tornado, often unpredictable, ferocious, egotistical, jealous and overall, he is obsessed with good manners and societal norms, and the way others perceive him and his family, another parallel with Captain Hook, who is obsessed with “good form“.
One really important characteristic of Captain Hook is that he himself is chased at the same time he chases Peter, by a crocodile with a ticking clock in the stomach, representing the chaos, transience and passing of time which eventually leads to death, chasing every adult person. To grow up requires a confrontation with both aging and mortality. In the end, Captain Hook is devoured by the crocodile of chaos and time, similarly to Mr. Darling to which the narrator gave the same end in a realistic manner;

“Mr. Darling was now dead and forgotten.“

Also, Captain Hook lost a hand during a battle with Peter and his claw is a repetitive motive. The loss of the hand can symbolize the castration fantasy that a child has in a wish to diminish the power of parent and grown-up. Still, the substitute is an iron claw, the constant threat to children to grab, harm, and abduct them. The world of Neverland is full of violence and aggression at both Peter's and Captain Hook's end.

“...he was so full of wrath against grown-ups, who, as usual, were spoiling everything, that as soon as he got inside his tree he breathed intentionally quick short breaths at the rate of about five to a second. He did this because there is a saying in the Neverland that, every time you breathe, a grown-up dies; and Peter was killing them off vindictively as fast as possible.“

The story is parallel, on the deeper layer there is a symbolism of Wendy's issues with her father, as we see the positive side of Mr. Darling only after the death of Caption Hook, and there is Peter with his mother issues, both obsession and rejection of mother's love. Wendy resolves Electra's complex, but Peter stays forever fixated in the Oedipal complex. The narrator makes it very obvious that Peter both longs and despises mothers. He wants to hurt Wendy's mother, Mrs. Darling, and at the same time wants Wendy, a girl his age and size, more suitable to be his romantic interest, to play a mother role for him and Lost Boys. Peter himself is conflicted regarding his role, in a sense he is a father figure for Lost Boys, making Wendy his partner in parenting, but at the same times, he wants Wendy to play the role of his mother, give him medicine, and comfort him every time he has a bad dream. The state of innocence and youthfulness, in which he rejected all of the responsibilities, makes him incapable to form a real relationship with a woman. Wendy has romantic feelings towards him and even tries to kiss him, but Tinkerbell stops it, and he does not understand Wendy's demeanor, as he only wants her to be his mother. His puerility shuts the door for sexuality, even though Wendy continues to express first signs of sexual interest and maturity, he stays in the state where the only relationship with women that he can achieve are ones with fairies and mermaid, not real women, but creatures of imagination. He embodies the Madonna-whore conflict present in men that can't step in their maturity, a view of women as high sexualized, a product of their own projections and fantasy (as in porn), or other women in noble, respectable roles, but lacing any sexual attraction.

That slowly bursts the bubble of fantasy of the perfect world of eternal childhood and leads us to harsh reality. Both staying in childhood and growing up carries certain inevitable sacrifices, the question is, which ones are we going to chose. In childhood there is joy, play, and no responsibility, there is a sense of selfishness and cockiness that Peter had, and bliss of adventure, and endless potential that one is. But, in a lack of differentiation and responsibility that adult formation of identity carries, there is no order, stability, long-standing relationships and sense of purpose and meaning. As Peter is everything is ever-changing, chaotic, disorganized. Peter does not recognize Wendy, he even forgets Tinkerbell and Captain Hook in time, he always lives in the present moment, with no continuity and sense of past or the future, and in that he loses and parts of self, and the potential always stays unfulfilled. He can be anything but isn't anything. Wendy, on the other hand, decides to grow up, and fulfill adult roles, despite having to lose Peter in the process. In maturity one has to conform to certain rules of society and embrace mortality, also sacrifice the pluripotentiality of childhood for actuality of a frame. Becoming something is always a death of all other possibilities you had at that moment, a training period narrows and constricts you, you have to take into account that you are limited and finale - in a sense, you are dying into the personality and definite identity.

It is interesting that in Peter-Wendy dynamic, she has to hold the mature pole and even in escape in the fantasy of Neverland, land of eternal youth, she decides to play a mother role, while Peter never wants to retain the dynamic of childhood, no matter what role he is in. She is also the one who remembers - in Neverland she remembers her parents and reality, and she even longs for the real world, in contrast to Peter that permanently escapes and cannot confront the real world. And in reality and later life she does not make a mistake of her mother, in forgetting Peter, she remembers the world of Neverland. It is also interesting that Peter wanted to take Wendy and was attracted to her because she knew many stories. Wendy is the one who has the power because she holds the narrative frame, in knowing both imagination and reality, she can tell stories that can give both Peter and Lost Boys continuity, meaning and purpose, which are lacking in the never-ending enjoyment of the Neverland. The narrative structure and knowledge combat the chaos and disorganization and enables her to have the best of both worlds.

But, in the end, a sacrifice that Wendy had to make is inevitable, and she has to let Peter go to mature. Sacrifice is inescapable, all we can do is choose our limitation or let it takes us unaware, as Peter did. There is a limitation in every possibility and every single thing in life both gives and takes. It is not accidental that Peter lost his shadow - he lost perception of a negative side of eternal youth and carelessness in loss of sense of the value of real relationships and incapability to create something truly meaningful and long-lasting.

“He had ecstasies innumerable that other children can never know; but he was looking through the window at the one joy from which he must be for ever barred.“

Wendy is a role model in the course of adolescence - she choose her sacrifices, became a grown woman and mother, but also carried children from Neverland with her and remembered Peter. The magic of childhood was not buried and forgotten for her, as she retained a connection with joy, playfulness and adventure - she became something and continued to cherish the child's world at the same time.

“You need not be sorry for her. She was one of the kind that likes to grow up. ”
28 reviews8 followers
September 24, 2008
My children wanted to do our read aloud outside this evening. So we went on the patio and I began reading "Peter Pan." I read about how the mermaids would play with the bubbles, but when the children would come they would all disappear, but they would secretly watch. Pretty soon I hear over the fence our 11 year old neighbor boy say, "Is that Peter Pan?" "Yes," I say, "Would you like to come listen?" "I've been listening from here," he says. So I go on and read about Wendy's rule that all the boys must take a nap after they eat and they are all settled on marooners rock when an eery darkness begins to spread of the lagoon. "Oh, it must be Hook!" and the neighbor is now perched on top of the fence. We go on to the fight and Peter is wounded and can't fly nor swim and is left with Wendy on the rock and the tide is coming in. "Oh...but they can't really drown. They don't drown. Do they?" And the boy is now over the fence. There is a kite, Peter fastens Wendy to it and it carries her away. Peter looks out bravely and says 'to die will be an awfully big adventure.' The chapter ends and the neighbor boy is beside us. I smile and ask, "Do you guys want another chapter?" "Well, if you want to," says the boy and so there is a devoted neverbird, a mother sitting on her nest that has fallen out of the tree and is now bobbing up and down in the gentley lapping waters of the lagoon...
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,828 reviews29k followers
February 18, 2018
Not gonna lie, I had to push myself to get through this.

I just didn’t find it enjoyable in the slightest, which makes me feel like a loser since it’s such a beloved children’s classic.

But at least I’m an honest loser?

I didn’t really like Peter.
Wendy annoyed me.
And the humor and tone just fell flat for me.

But, on the plus side, at least I can count this as my first completed classic for the year. This was supposed to be my January read and it’s now February...but who’s counting.

Me, that’s who. One out of 12 complete!
Profile Image for Gavin Hetherington.
673 reviews5,613 followers
August 23, 2021
First time ever reading this and it was not as magical as I was hoping. So many problematic things about it, at times so unsuitable for children, and with unlikeable characters to boot. I've never hated Peter and Tinker Bell as much as I do in this book. Don't get me started on the racism.
Profile Image for بثينة العيسى.
Author 22 books25.4k followers
November 20, 2018
وعلى نحوٍ ومفاجئ.

كنتُ، مثل الجميع، قد شاهدت الأعمال السينمائية التي أنتجت لبيتر بان، ولم يخطر لي أن قراءة الكتاب ستضمن لذة مضاعفة إلى هذه الدرجة. خيّل إلي في البداية أنني بصدد "حكاية" مدهشة لعالمٍ خيالي. لكن نسيج اللغة الذي صيغت منه الرواية، جملة بعد جملة، كان غبطة حقيقية، وفي كل فقرة تقريبًا وجدتُ مفاجأة سارة. ما يعرفُ نقديًا وبترفع بـ "ارتفاع صوت الراوي" كان بهجة حقيقية أثناء قراءة هذا العمل، لأن الراوي، هذا المحجتب على نحوٍ غامض، شخص خفيف الظل إلى أبعد الحدود، وقادر على إخفاء نكتة مبطنة بين سطرٍ وآخر.. وقد مر زمن طويل على آخر مرة قرأتُ فيها كتابًا جعلني "أقهقه" إلى هذا الحد.

قراءة بيتر بان تشبهُ قراءة ألس في بلاد العجائب، والأمير الصغير. إنه نصٌ استثنائي بجميع المقاييس، وكمّ الرسائل المبطنة عن الحب والطفولة والأمومة، تبدو حقيقة مثل رسائل مشفرة مرسلة من عالم الصغار إلى عالم الكبار. هذه ليست رواية للصغار كما يشاع، إنها رواية تساعدنا جميعًا أن نتصدى للزمن، ألا نكبر.

لم أتخيل أن الشخصيات ستكون منحوتة بهذه البراعة، وخاصة شخصية القبطان هوك التي تضمنت الكثير من الجوانب الإنسانية الرقيقة؛ مثل كونه سيدًا مهذبًا، حكاءًا مشهورًا، وفي عينيه حزنٌ عميق. شخصية بيتر بان كانت مرعبة في الإقناع لأنه كتب حقًا بسيكولوجية الطفل الذي لا يكبر. وهذا الجانب المستفز منه، والوقح أحيانًا، هو في الآن وقته أبدع ما فيه. إنه ولد تريد تبنيه والتحليق معه في الوقت نفسه!

الأمر الآخر المدهش بدوره هو صياغة نص بهذه البراعة "اللذيذة" من حكاية مأساوية عن شقيق الكاتب الذي توفي قبل أن يبلغ الرابعة عشر من عمره. القدرة المذهلة على تحويل الألم إلى جمال..

وأخيرًا، البعض قد يحب بيتر، والبعض الآخر قد يحب وندي. أنا أحببت الأم، السيدة دارلنغ.. التي تترك النافذة مفتوحة طوال الوقت تحسبًا لعودة صغارها. أنانية الأطفال ��ل��ارحة التي هي دائمًا مصدر غبطة في قلبِ كل أم، وفي ثغرها أيضًا.. المليء "بالكشتبانات".

شكرًا بثينة الإبراهيم على الترجمة البديعة.
وشكرًا جيمس ماثيو باري على نص مصاغ من البراءة والجسارة والمرح.
Profile Image for Ariel.
301 reviews64.2k followers
July 12, 2016

Things that are great:
1) All of these tiny details that Barrie added in that just make everything feel really intricate.
2) Peter Pan is the most bizarre and interesting characters ever.
3) The whole concept of Neverland being fact of fiction? Fascinating.
4) The parents. WOAH SO INTERESTING.
5) I listened to an audiobook version while reading along which was read by Jim Dale and OMGSOGOOD.
6) The magic.
7) The pirates.
8) Understanding why Tinker Bell is called Tinker Bell.
9) It was really sad. The ending, man, was technically happy and cheerful but MAN WAS IT SAD.
10) Pirates.

You should check it out.
Profile Image for Bionic Jean.
1,227 reviews1,061 followers
January 23, 2023
This edition of Peter Pan contains the text of J.M. Barrie’s 1911 novel, “Peter and Wendy”, which he wrote from his earlier play of 1904. The character of Peter Pan, the little boy who wouldn’t grow up, had already made an appearance in an earlier work by J.M. Barrie, “The Little White Bird” (1902). There continue to be many retellings of this magical story, and Peter is himself a timeless figure; one of the best-loved characters in children’s literature. There is maybe a little of Peter in everybody. We can all empathise with that concept; it speaks to our inner psyche.

But what are we to make of the original? For any readers critical of modern children’s fiction for being too violent, I would direct them to read this piece (plus some Lewis Carroll, and “Strewelpeter…”) to see what was considered appropriate for Victorian children. It is by turns overblown, full of Victorian sentiment and whimsy, but there is also a dark side with very grim overtones. There is betrayal, selfishness, cruelty, torture and bloodthirstiness galore. For,

“children are ever ready, when novelty knocks, to desert their dearest ones.”

William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” owes a lot to this book. And it is not only the children and the “baddies” who are depicted as evil and malicious. Their parents seem full of hypocrisy too.

For instance, a few pages into the story, the Darlings are discussing whether or not they can afford to keep their newborn baby, Wendy. Then a little later there is a “competition” between father and son about who will take his medicine more bravely. The father pours his medicine into the dog’s bowl and tricks her into drinking it. He treats this as a great joke although the rest of the family do not think so. What is the message here? Parents betray you? Parents do not feel remorse? Or is it simply very black humour? The dog “Nana”, incidentally, is just that. She is quite literally, a nursemaid to the children. Whimsy? Humour? A little of both probably, although I do remember finding this confusing myself, as a child.

A further observation on how traitorous adults can be comes later in the story, when Hook bites Peter as he is helping him up,

“its unfairness was what dazed Peter … He could only stare horrified. 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 the same boy.”

The story of Peter Pan is the stuff of dreams. Or is it? Isn't it more the stuff of nightmares? Look at the pirates. There is the cadaverous Captain Hook with his Charles II costume and of course the murderous hook instead of a hand. He is tormented by the thought of the crocodile which pursues him - and who has opportunely swallowed an alarm clock to increase Hook’s dread. And in addition Hook is oddly scared of the sight of his own blood. Hook is a tormented character,

“ever a dark and solitary enigma, he stood aloof from his followers in spirit as in substance.”

It becomes clear that he was an ex-Etonian, with a sorry past.

“Hook was not his real name,” states Barrie.

Then there is his second-in-command Smee, who, “had pleasant names for everything, and his cutlass was Johnny Corkscrew because he wriggled it in the wound. One could mention many lovable traits in Smee.” The author lurches between sardonic humour such as this, and being curiously dispassionate about the story, “Let us now kill a pirate to show Hook’s method. Skylights will do”.

The Lost Boys, although given individual names, again seem to be curiously abstract and interchangeable. Depicted as budding pirates themselves, they, “vary in numbers… they get killed and so on; and when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out.”

Thins them out?!

He also hunts down Captain Hook, while he, “swore a terrible oath: “Hook or me this time." He crawled forward like a snake with, "one finger on his lip and his dagger at the ready. He was frightfully happy."

Yes, Peter could be said to be the most merciless character of them all. But Barrie depicts him as truly amoral, perpetually in that very early stage of childhood where “the self” is the centre of the universe.

“The difference between him and the other boys at such a time was that they knew it was make-believe, while to him make-believe and true were exactly the same thing.”

The character of Peter is consistent with this throughout. He frequently forgets things - and people - and views his own actions as responsible for anything which pleases him. Thus his “crowing”. Barrie has given us a perfect description of a child's focus prior to learning about others, or such concepts as responsibility, cause and effect. It is merely the reader’s interpretation to regard him as a “mischievous boy”. The character himself is a long way off such self-knowledge.

The idea of “Neverland” is an intriguing one. Again, it speaks to something deep inside us all. The three children found that they recognised the island from their dreams. It had aspects of all they desired, and also much of what they feared. It was different for each, and yet the same. It was make-believe, but also with real threats. This dual perception of reality is a constant theme throughout the novel, and very hard to grasp. “It doesn't matter, it's only make-believe”, we think. And then, “Oh no, but it's not!” At one point Peter,

“regretted that he had given the birds of the island such strange names and that they are very wild and difficult of approach.”

The Lost Boys are variously acting as redskins or pirates, switching at will. Barrie's skill at depicting how involved they become in their characters adds to the blurring of unrealities.

There is no doubt that Barrie’s imaginative and inventive powers are superb. “Tinkerbell”, the selfish fairy, is another whose persona has seeped into the public’s consciousness.

“Tink was not all bad: or, rather, she was all bad just now, but, on the other hand, sometimes she was all good.”

Interestingly, the use of “fairy dust” to enable the children to fly is a later addition. After the stage play, parents had complained to Barrie that their children were hurting themselves by jumping out of their beds and “trying to fly”. This seems an extraordinary detail for Barrie to believe necessitated changing in such a bloodthirsty tale!

Actually, Barrie has slotted into a common traditional folk view of the little people as being essentially bad. He refers to the fairies coming home “unsteady… from an orgy” the night before, looking for malevolent tricks to play. But Tinkerbell is loyal to Peter throughout, and of course when all the audience (or readers) are urged to clap their hands, or else she will die, this is pure magic. But Peter stays true to character. By the end of the story he does not even remember her.

“There are such a lot of them,” he said, “I expect she is no more.”

Again, what does this teach a young reader about loyalty or friendship? This is a ruthless tale, not a moral one.

If we look for a “good” character, we tend to trip over Wendy, who seems to be an archetype for Barrie’s idea of females. She delights in being a “mother" to the lost boys, forgets her true home much as her brothers do, spends all her time cooking, cleaning and darning, and professes to feel sorry for spinsters. The reader doesn't get the impression that this is ironic; more likely, wish-fulfilment on behalf of the author. Even during the bloodbath at the end, she,

“praised them all equally and shuddered delightfully when Michael [her youngest brother] showed her the place where he had killed one...”

A psychologist would have a field day with this book. Indeed, there is a “Peter Pan” syndrome, to describe individuals who are reluctant to take on “adult” cares and responsibilities, preferring to pursue their own, often creative, interests. And there is plenty of substance to support the view that Barrie was a troubled individual, and that this fed into his writing. His elder brother David, died in a tragic skating accident at the age of fourteen. This deeply affected their mother. The dual parallels with the boy who couldn't grow up, and would therefore remain a boy for ever, and the idealised mother, are quite blatant. Then when James Barrie grew up, he apparently had a troubled marriage, with difficulties making love, which alienated his wife.

He became close friends with the Llewelyn Davies family, having met two of the boys in Kensington Gardens, and began to tell them stories about his invented character Peter Pan. Barrie coined the name using the first name of one of the five, and “Pan” from the mischievous god of the woodlands. Again, this story is overlaid with sadness. In 1907 the father Arthur died of cancer of the jaw, and three years later the mother Sylvia followed, apparently from lung cancer. Barrie became their guardian in 1910, and from then on even closer to the boys.

But the real life tragedies continued. The eldest, George, was killed like much of his generation on Flanders Field in 1915. The character of Peter Pan was apparently primarily based on him. Michael, who was deeply afraid of the water, drowned in 1921 with a classmate at Oxford. And in 1960 Peter, the second son, threw himself in front of a subway train in London.

Much has been made of Barrie’s interest in these children, just as has been with Lewis Carroll’s interest in children, especially in our over-sensitive and suspicious climate. This is a bit of a mystery. Surely an interest in children is natural and common to all humans, to a greater or lesser degree, whether male or female. Would it seem so “shocking” if these two writers had been female?

Surely the point is that writers write from their own experience. Even if what they write is ostensibly pure fantasy, there will be facets of their own experience underlying it. Like most writers he took his inspiration from real life and reworked the people he knew and loved to populate his books and plays. Many experiences came together to make James Barrie’s creation of an immortal little boy. In some ways he was writing about what he wished might happen. But because of that creation, current history will unfortunately peer into his personal life. He achieved immortality himself, but at a price.

So far this has been an analysis of the text of the original novel, which is perhaps rarely read now. Certainly the perception of the story of Peter Pan is a much “softer” version, deduced from a composite number of sources. This edition of the text though, dates from 1987, and was reissued in 2003 as a Centennial Edition (presumably in readiness for 2004, 100 years after the first edition.) It has decorative illustrations by Michael Hague which complement the text perfectly. They are watercolours with a wealth of detail, using subtle colours and complicated patterns which appeal far more to an adult than a child. They are moody and sensitive without being sentimental. And there are a lot of them - between two and four for each of the seventeen chapters. It is a beautiful book.

Reading the original Peter Pan as an adult has been a startling experience. It is not at all what a reader might expect, and although Barrie wrote it as a children’s story, this book as it stands would not appeal to a modern-day child. We have all lost the capacity for appreciating whimsy in the same way. A child might well enjoy the bloodthirsty nature of the book, and the absoluteness of punishment and judgment. There are few shades of grey in this book. Nobody is urged to “get along” with anybody else. And the adults are seriously flawed. But the cosiness of the language makes it an unlikely choice.

It does however deserve four stars from an adult’s point of view. From its first instantly recognisable line,

“All children, except one, grow up”

through to Peter Pan’s claim,

“To die will be an awfully big adventure,”

it is an incomparable classic.

“Off we skip like the most heartless things in the world, which is what children are…and we have an entirely selfish time, and then when we have need of special attention we nobly return for it, confident that we shall be rewarded instead of smacked”

observes James Barrie. The characters in this book, especially Peter Pan, act out that theory to perfection. The book ends with the phrase,

“and so it will go on, as long as children are gay and innocent and heartless.”

For all its flaws it is a unique and truly imaginative book, with an unforgettable antihero, and one which has spawned many imitations.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,825 followers
November 30, 2020
4 to 4.5 Stars

Peter Pan has never really been one of my favorite classic stories. I know that some people have a lot of nostalgia from childhood for the Disney movie. Also, there have been so many spinoff and retellings of this story and the actual life of the author, that you know that it means a lot to a lot of people. As we are preparing to watch this with our kids for the first time, I figured I ought to check out the original so that I could get a real feel for where the story started.

At first, it started slow. I am wondering if this was due to my tendency to go into things with pre-conceived expectations. Since I have had only a passive interest in the story before, I wonder if my brain was like “Hey! Why are you wasting your time on this!” I know, I know . . . this is very bad of me! So, I soldiered on, and I am very glad I did.

As the story progressed, I really got into it and the world of Neverland. The characters were fun and the fantastical plot very silly. The emotions and personalities of all the characters can be summed up by a line about Tinkerbell that said basically she could either be all mean or all nice, but never both things at once. Because of this, you pretty much know what you are going to get with each character.

The progression through to the end was melancholy, but satisfyingly sweet. It is true that we are all going to grow up someday, but the stories from our childhood never do.

Be sure check this book out - especially if you are a fan of Peter Pan, Hook, Wendy, etc. or have dreams of someday traveling off to Neverland.
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,429 reviews1,060 followers
February 8, 2019
“I suppose it's like the ticking crocodile, isn't it? Time is chasing after all of us.”

Beautifully written, hauntingly nostalgic, and adventure filled, Peter Pan is not a story that can be forgotten and that has made itself live on in childhood literature since its conception.

So many are familiar with the Disney version, a book and movie which highlights the fun and joyful adventures of youth as they escape a bedroom window and fly in the night to a hidden world rich with adventures. The original Peter is just an joyous on some levels - the sense of magic and nostalgia is potent - but Barrie's more sophisticated and original story does more than entertain on a simple level - it makes the reader thing and wonder. Is there a joy in staying young forever, free of adult responsibility and ruling responsibilities? Yes. Is there a tragedy in staying young forever and never growing? Also yes.

The character of Peter is fascinating. He's a child who likes to live carefree and is drawn to that particular nursery on the second floor for whatever reason. Through it he sees Wendy, an inspiration for a mother he doesn't know and claims he doesn't want. He invites her - and she invites her brothers - on a magical ride through the night into a strange land befit with pirates, ticking crocodiles, feisty fairies, and mermaids.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder… or forgetful.”

Peter has a dark tone as well. He doesn't value life because he can't comprehend it. The author points out as a narrator in the story that he forgets stuff all the time, and may bore of the game of saving the boys as they learn to fly and let them drown simply because he may lose interest. He forgets all those special to him, including the main characters of the story, as he lets himself be tugged by adventure alone and no strong ties to reality and the living, evolving people.

I can see the inspiration for the magical and fertile imagination of children, but I wonder too on the thoughts of children never growing up and forgetting the realities of life through death - the author's brother was tragically killed in an accident at the age of 13, which could leave an impression of a child leaving to fly away and abandon family while they never age.

“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.”

"The boys on the island vary, of course, in numbers, according as they get killed and so on; and when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out....."

Yeah, Peter totally probably kills them, as the author Brom speculated when he was inspired to write The Child Thief

Hook is shown as a deplorable villain but there is more black and white to the story than the simplified Disney version. He is capable of sympathy but shrugs it aside in his war against Peter because of the boy's arrogant, devil-may-care attitude. I guess I understand the Peter Pan and Hook rivalry more when Peter casually mentions they kill pirates for sport while they're sleeping...

Tink is awesome - she goes around in the story mainly saying, "You silly ass", to Peter. It cracked me up. The author focused a good bit on the mother, Mrs. Darling, too, and it seemed to be because of a strong mother theme through the story, first in her and then in Wendy. Indeed the father is shown as ineffective and rather whiny, although the author points out in the end that Mrs. Darling is now dead and "long-forgotten."

“To die will be an awfully big adventure.”

The story carries more oomph when you glimpse into the author's life and inspirations. J.M. Barrie clearly loved children. When he died in 1937, he left the copyright of Peter Pan to a children's hospital in London, which has continued to financially benefit from royalties. He got the inspiration for the story through meeting and getting close to a family with some young boys, and he took guardianship of the children to the parent's wishes when they passed away.

Sadly, the children he adopted also perished later - one in war and one in drowning. The one survivor, Peter, outlived Barry but committed suicide by jumping in front of a train in 1960.

“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”

When I think of Peter Pan, I think of nostalgia. There is magic and joy in living for the present moment and letting go of the future, but there is no foundation. The sands of time dissolve under the feet of everyone except Peter Pan. In the end he lives on and rewards himself with lack of aging, but he forgets all and is forgotten by everyone. It is more of a magical moment that can't last. When the young die, they don't have to grow and face adulthood; they get to live with the magic of childhood forever in the memories of all who knew them when they were alive.

“Never is an awfully long time.”
Profile Image for Brad.
Author 2 books1,687 followers
September 7, 2008
I am not sure I can see why Peter Pan is such a beloved "classic." J.M. Barrie's story of the boy who wouldn't grow up just didn't reach me. And I read it aloud to 4 year old boy-girl twins.

Oh, they enjoyed it, and I may have bred a love for the story in them that will last (which could be exactly why the story has endured -- parental readings), but no matter how much they liked Peter Pan I could not see the appeal.

Wendy drove me crazy; Peter grew increasingly annoying; Hook bored me stiff; there was too much violence; Barrie's narrative interjections grew to be too intrusive; and I generally felt a distinct lack of fun. About the only thing I liked about the book, besides it ending, was Tinkerbell. Her snooty fairy arrogance always made me smile.

I know I will incur the wrath of many when I say this, but I actually prefer the Disney version. Walt brought some real joy to the story, and while I will never read Peter Pan again, I will watch the movie. Probably tomorrow.

If there wasn't a successful play of Pan I would put the longevity of Barrie's story on the head of Disney. Too bad I can't, but then he's been blamed for enough over the years, hasn't he?
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,009 followers
January 13, 2009
I can't believe I've never actually read Peter Pan until now. I'd seen the Disney version, but this is both more charming and more sinister than that. There are lots of sweet little details, like mothers tidying up their children's thoughts, and the kiss on the corner of Mrs Darling's mouth.

But Peter is a monstrous sort of figure when you get past the romance of Neverland. He's a wild boy, selfish and cocky. Instead of being a kind of example of innocent childhood, he almost brings to mind the boys from Lord of the Flies. Near the end, it says that he nearly stabs Wendy's baby! And he steals other children.

Of course, the moral of the story is that children need mothers. It's just charming enough to get away with the moralising.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Steph.
98 reviews9 followers
May 10, 2013
Firstly, let me make it clear that there is actually more than one J M Barrie 'Peter Pan' story (something that I did not initially realise). There is 'Peter Pan and Wendy,' which is the story we are all familiar with (immortalised - inaccurately - by Disney); there is 'Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens,' which tells the story of him as a baby with the lost boys when he was originally abandoned, (which I have not yet read) and then 'The Little White Bird' (which I have not read either), but is a set of stories in which Peter also appears. However, this is the most famous of the narratives and I read it mainly because I was looking for famous pirate descriptions for a scheme of work I wanted to teach to my Year 7s. I know, I am very dull!

So...the story is pretty much what one would expect if you have encountered Peter in his many big screen incarnations: Peter encourages Wendy, John and Michael to fly off to Neverland to the Lost Boys. Wendy becomes their surrogate mother and they undertake a whole series of adventures together until they begin to miss home. Of course, there are the famous faces: Captain Hook who captures them all and is always looking to gain revenge on Peter; Tinkerbell who adores Peter and is reliant on the clapping of children to survive; Tiger Lily and her deadly crew and of course the Darling family waiting patiently and desperately at home while their children undertake the adventure of a lifetime.

Oh how lovely? What a smashing tale for children? What a sweet little narrative about childhood and innocence? NO! NO! NO! NO! This was a highly disturbing and even distasteful children's tale in my opinion and I can only assume that the glowing reviews it seems to receive are based on the fact that too often we read this book wearing Disney blinkers, seeing what we want to and not recognising its dark underbelly. So what were my problems? (I'm afraid that there will have to be a list as there are simply too many):

1. The obvious violence delivered callously and without remorse throughout (I have no issue with violence, but not in a young children's narrative)

2. Peter's characterisation - there is nothing appealing about this arrogant, deceitful, manipulative imp, who cares for little but himself and this never changes!

3. The novel begins with Mrs Darling rummaging around in her children's BRAINS...yes BRAINS...to tidy up their minds! Barrie describes: 'Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children's minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can't) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers' The implication being she is sorting out their thoughts and removing anything unsuitable like some form of Edwardian brainwashing!

4. The portrayal of Mr Darling who can only be described as an absolute buffoon. He is an aggressive and cruel man who abuses the lovely dog Nana feeding her his medicine because he is too cowardly to take it himself and it is this that results in his children being abducted. The implication is that he is a clock watcher who wants an easy life and that his wife has had to manipulate him and her menstrual cycle in order to conceive the second two children that he never wanted! However, when the children vanish, his behaviour can only be classified as bizarre: he sleeps in a kennel even going to work with it as penance. Ludicrous!

5. At one point, Barry describes how the fairies return through the forest 'FROM AN ORGY!' And I quote: 'After a time he fell asleep, and some unsteady fairies had to climb over him on their way home from an orgy'. Surely inappropriate and peculiar in a children's novel.


7. In fact, the novel is obviously misogynistic throughout. The message is that all mothers fail and are essentially useless creatures. Peter hates mothers (although his reason is that she abanadoned him, but Barrie seems to blame her for giving up hope and barring the window and having another child after years of his absence, implying that she should have lived eternally with the guilt and blame of his loss and never moved on). At one point we are told, 'mothers alone are always willing to be the buffer' implying it is perfectly acceptable to blame them for everything. Likewise, Mrs Darling, who seems a fairly caring, attentive if vacuous woman, is blamed for the loss of her children. Barrie tells us 'so long as mothers are like this, their children will take advantage of them' so clearly generosity of spirit and loving your children, is a terrible flaw in woman kind. Moreover, the sole function of Wendy's descendants is to become Peter's mother in turn! In short, this is a novel that presents women as useless creatures whose only use is for cleaning, breeding and raising little brats. The only other female figures presented are in the mode of the femme fatale - they seem deceptive, cruel and use their physical attraction to manipulate men such as Tiger Lily who uses her physical charms to rule the Indians and Tinkerbell, who out of female jealousy, gets the Lost Boys to shoot Wendy. So what Barrie presents us with is the disturbing Victorian dichotomy that women are either the angel in the house of the whore in the street.
8. Having said this, Barrie actually appears misanthropic as well. He has little good to say about anyone (least of all children).

Ironically, the one redeeming feature of this novel is that all the proceeds went to Great Ormond Street Hospital to help fund cures for children's genetic diseases. And for that one admirable action, I give this book a lonely star.

Because, in short, this is a terribly disturbing book, written by a terribly disturbing mind - if only his mother had 'tidied it up'!
Profile Image for Bookishrealm.
1,909 reviews4,794 followers
January 29, 2023
Whew child this! This book does not hold up. I don't exactly remember reading it as a child, but I'm not sure that I would have connected the dots with the number of issues I had reading this book as an adult.

First, I don't think I need to give a description of this one. So many people are familiar with the story of Peter Pan. What many may not realize is how difficult it may be to read this book in a 21st century setting. It's without fail a title of it's time and my one star rating isn't solely based on it's problematic elements. I'm able to read a book and recognize it's place in literature. However, THIS BOOK IS BORING AF! Why did no one explain that this book is a slog to get through?!? I anticipated the racism, the misogyny, the weird sexual tid bits, but MY GOODNESS what child has ever found this book remotely entertaining?!? Hook has to be the driest and corniest villain on the planet (and yes I am aware that some people interpret Hook as the Neverland version of Mr. Darling). AND PETER?!? I would never want to be friends with him or be in his presence. He's crude, rude, cruel, selfish, unkind and more. I did not realize how he treated Wendy and her brothers until I read this. It appears that the adaptations of this, particularly the ones for kids, soften his personality tremendously.

Now for the problematic pieces of this book. If any one decides to pick up this book please be aware of the harmful content towards Native and Indigenous communities. I kept a tally of how many times racial slurs were used towards the community and it's was over 20. While this is term that was common during the time of Barrie, it doesn't make it right nor easier to consume. There were some interesting (and I don't mean interesting in a good way) things done in terms of gender roles where Wendy is often forced to take on the role of a motherly figure as well as that of wife insinuating that those are roles that she should aspire to fill as she gets older. Then there was the quote in which the Native community in Neverland addressed Peter as "great White father." Ya'll--I promise I pressed the rewind button on my audibook several times to make sure I heard that line correctly. It is definitely in line with an imperialistic mindset. I won't even dive into the character design of Tiger Lily. Wendy is also hypersexualized in one scene in the very beginning that made me feel a little uncomfortable. The narrator states something along the lines of "now Wendy was every inch a woman." There were also lines about the effect that Peter's voice had on women. All of it, regardless of intent, felt a little awkward to me as an adult reader consuming a children's classic. As I stated before, I understand that a lot of these ideals and terms were commonly used or taught during the publication of this book; however, it wouldn't be fair for me to review it and leave out my thoughts regarding this content.

I'm working on a project right now where I go through and read childhood classics and analyze them for their readability in the 21st century. It's a way to provide ways for people to have discussion about classics that often perpetuated harmful stereotypes and/or ideals and how we move forward in modern children's literature by providing strong readalikes for these sometimes challenging books. Overall, I didn't enjoy this one. Regardless of it's place in time, I found it to be incredibly dry and boring.
Profile Image for Luciana Gomez Mauro.
212 reviews99 followers
February 13, 2019
Me gustó mucho. Obviamente ya conocía la historia por qué me crié prácticamente viendo todas las versiones de Peter Pan.
Si bien el libro es lo mismo que pasa en la película, se puede ver qué es más crudo. Los personajes son soberbios y hasta crueles. Peter Pan es un niño orgulloso, que no quiere una madre, pero que desea tener el amor de una.
Me impresionó mucho lo que dijeron que Peter mataba a los niños que crecían en el País de Nunca Jamás. Eso no lo esperaba.
Lo que más me gustó fue el Narrador, por momentos se me hacía tedioso, pero me encantó que jugará en los lectores con sus palabras y sus preguntas retóricas.

Los padres de Wendy son geniales, me encantó que el señor Darling ocupará la perrera hasta que volvieran sus hijos, me pareció lo más justificado.
La escena en la que Peter deja a los niños en su casa y se va, y aparece Wendy diciéndole que se quedé, en la película ame esa escena, pero en el libro está escrita como una escena más realista.
Es duro crecer, pero al fin y al cabo no hay otra opción. Los niños elijieron bien en volver a su casa, y obviamente estuvo perfecto que hagan su viaje,yo también lo hubiese hecho.
Me encantó el personaje de Garfio y Smee, eran muy graciosos, y el cocodrilo. La batalla entre Garfio y Peter fue muy rápida, pensé que ocuparía la mayoría de páginas pero no.
Y con el final en el que Peter vuelve y se encuentra con la hija de Wendy, me dolió mucho esa escena. Más por Peter por qué siempre quiso que Wendy se quedará con él, pero también la entiendo a Wendy, como bien dice el narrador, a ella no le molestaba crecer, quería crecer.
En fin, me quedo con la película por qué siento que ampliaron mejor los sentimientos de todos los niños, pero el libro es asombroso y real.
Hay que destacar a la perra Nana y Campanilla que fueron lo mejor del libro.
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,575 followers
May 25, 2017
Before I get into the review... it took me forever to go through all the editions of Peter Pan listed on Goodreads. While I suppose it's not too important to get the right version, I was shocked at how many there were, as well as that this was a longer series with multiple books. I guess I always knew that, but when I read it, it was just the Peter Pan book, which I believe was the third in the series. I could be wrong... nonetheless... wow... and it's review time and let's do some soaring...

There is so much I could say about this book. I could write a formal review. I could compare the story to the TV and film adaptions. I could cover the cartoons. BTW, the most interesting one for me was "Once Upon a Time's" portrayal of Peter. So dark... LOVED IT. But that said, to me, it's a children's tale with a huge primary lesson: We never want to grow up, but we have to...

And that's what I'll focus on. This book must be read to children a few times over the years. I'd start first when they are about 4 or 5, and then show the cartoon versions. Let them absorb it and think about it. And then again when they are 7 or 8, helping them understand what it means to grow up. And then again when they are about 12 or 13... and make them do a book report on it, even outside of school. It's a lesson that must be taught young.

Growing up is scary. But so is not growing up. There's a fine balance between finding the time to be free and open, enjoying life and staying away from one's fears. But you must also learn what is necessary to become a good, solid and functioning citizen of the society.

What I love about this story is the amount of interpretations you can absorb from the story, the characters, the setting and the action. Just when you think you've got them all down, another view point comes into play -- and you have to re-think what the moral purpose of the book is about.

Or did Barrie intend it to just be a fun trip for kids... I'm not so sure we'll ever know!

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Profile Image for Lisa.
977 reviews3,327 followers
October 4, 2018
"You need not be sorry for her. She was one of the kind that likes to grow up. In the end she grew up of her own free will a day quicker than the other girls."

I loved Wendy when I was little - I was a bit over two when I got to know her, so I probably knew I was going to grow up at some point too. And knowing what she chose, it was a deliberate choice in my case as well. Peter Pan is one of those many childhood classics I devoured, loved and cherished, only to put it aside and - seemingly - forget it.

But as I was reading poetry this weekend and enjoying it so much I was laughing tears, I all of a sudden thought of fairies, and that they are made of children's laughter. Laughing like a child made me think of that hidden identity somewhere underneath the grown-up self I have become, and that in turn made me think of the difference between Peter and Wendy.

Peter refuses to grow, and prefers to stay a child and play and fight and live an irresponsible, crazy adventure. His world is a male paradise, and he is its king. As fascinating as it is to follow his story, I would never have wanted to stay in Neverland with him. Telling the story of the adventure to my own children as a grown-up - a mother - would have been much more tempting. Wendy and Peter are symbols of the storyteller and the story.

What would you like to be?

Why are so many people still idealising an immature phase in life, glorifying young adult behaviour, living off the stories of their youth? Telling the story of Captain Hook is so much more satisfying than chasing him around while listening for the crocodile ticking away in all eternity.

I bow to the wisdom and wit of Barrie, who must have had plenty of Peters and Wendys to draw from to create those two concepts of life - so true and yet so much in need of pixie dust.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
June 23, 2017
I’ve never really thought much to Peter Pan. I read it when I was very small and again in my late teens, though each time it didn’t particularly interest me. Sure, it was entertaining enough but that’s about it.

I’ve recently read Lost Boy by Christina Henry and the genius nature of her plot has made me reconsider the original work a little bit. She very cleverly tells the story from the perspective of Peter’s nemesis Hook. And coming from his point of view, it is Peter who is genuinely the one in the wrong: he is evil by accident and selfishness alone. Hook was wronged by his greatest friend when he was a child and forced into a role that is misunderstood.

The book made me consider this in a new light. Sure the Hook here is a bit of a caricature and he certainly doesn’t carry any sense of a dualistic relationship with Pan (it is just hate) but the way it has been adapted by Henry made me think that it could be. Under the surface of the writing there could be much more to the situation. And this made me appreciate the writing here a little bit more. It will never be something I consider great, but something I feel that could have been.
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.6k followers
May 7, 2017
“To die will be an awfully big adventure.”

I didn't love this book as much as I wanted to. Peter Pan's world is this magical, wonderful, dangerous place full of adventures. One of those places every child wants to visit, exactly like Wendy and her brothers. Just open a window and fly away.
I read this book because 1. it's a classic and 2. because it's my friend's favourite book of all times. It was my duty to pick this up. But it wasn't completely what I imagined. The book wasn't as exciting, the characters not as likeable as I thought. It was not exactly the kind of fairytale I had in mind.
Still, it's a classic, and a beautiful one, too.

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