Mark Lawrence's Reviews > Peter Pan

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
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really liked it

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that dissimilar, though it's a fair bit more brutal that the cartoons and having been published in 1911 it's 100 years out of date when it comes to Native Americans!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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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
November 29, 2015 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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Iris There are no native Americans in this book. There are Native Neverland-ers though...

message 2: by Laura (new)

Laura It is an odd little book. I preferred the Peter Pan story that tells how he fell out of his pram, and how he that was where the other lost boys came from.

message 3: by Cymia (new) - added it

Cymia Moss I've never read the Peter Pan book or the sequel books. But you did clarify what I already did know. When you analyse Peter Pan in the book you easily enough see the darker and more vain side to the character himself that Hollywood, Disney, and countless other adaptations refuse to let lose. He's got the childhood lack of understanding of right and wrong and thinks everything is a game. I think that's why I like Broms book The Child Thief it takes the darkside that many people don't know of Peter Pan and taking him and the other characters from the original story and twist them even further.

message 5: by Caio (new)

Caio Brown I agree with you, I knew the story but I loved it even more after reading the book.

ijeoma Agbaje I've always felt Peter Pan is way more insidious than his character is made out to be.
Safe to say as amazing as this book is (and i totally loved it) it destroyed all my PG illusions of his character.

message 7: by Raymond (new)

Raymond St. “To die will be an awfully big adventure.”

Mark Lawrence Raymond wrote: "“To die will be an awfully big adventure.”"

"I followed you on many adventures -- but into the great Unknown Mystery, I go first, Indy."

message 9: by Raymond (new)

Raymond St. Mark wrote: "I followed you on many adventures -- but into the great Unknown Mystery, I go first, Indy.""

Snakes. why did it have to be snakes?
Why couldn't it be Wendys?

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