Book Review: Peter Pan – By: J.M. Barrie

Peter Pan 5 Stars

I don’t know how to feel right now. I think I feel sad. Yes, that’s it.

Before I get to why it makes me sad, in a bittesweet way, I want to say that this book is significantly darker that Disney’s movie. I mean, Peter kills

the Lost Boys when they get too old, and the narrator decided to kill a pirate just to demonstrate Hook’s method.

Death is just mentioned so carelessly. It will comment that someone died, and then move on.

‘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; but at this time there were six of them, counting the twins as two.’

But it is the end that is more or less sad.

In the end, Wendy, John, and Michael return to the Darlings for a heartfelt reunion. Mr. and Mrs. Darling also adopt all six of the Lost Boys, counting the Twins as two; this is also fine. What wasn’t fine was that Peter looked in through a barred window onto a life that he would never have, and when Mrs. Darling invited him in, he refused. He refused to grow up.

He left to live with Tink, who soon died and was forgotten by Peter, as was Hook, and oftentimes he also forgot to return for Wendy in the Spring, when she was allowed to go away with him. So Peter has forgotten this entire adventure.

Soon, the Lost Boys regret their decision to live in the real world, and tried to fly away, but they were tied to their bedposts. Their belief soon vanished.

The author referred to the adult versions of the Lost Boys and John and Michael as completely other people. A judge who used to be Tootles, a man who had used to be John, as is they were no longer themselves. And, I suppose, they weren’t. They had ‘died’.

It was only Wendy who remembered, and who told the story of her adventures with Peter to her daughter. One day Peter comes to take Wendy away in the Spring, but she is all grown up. She leaves in distress when he begins crying, and Jane wakes up. Mimicing her mother’s exact words, she says, “Boy, why are you crying?” Soon she is up and flying around the room, and Peter takes her away for Spring cleaning. And so it continues with Jane’s daughter Margaret, and Margaret’s daughter, and so on.

But Peter? I doubt that Peter even remembers.

Also, there are things in this book that are never quite explained. Like this concept here:

Mrs. Darling has many kisses on her mouth, but there is one in the corner of it that nobody can ever quite reach. The kiss is similar in many ways to Peter.

And that is what many things in the book are like. They aren’t fully explained and it leaves room to wonder.

These unexplained parts create a beautiful, mysterious air to the story.

I loved this book. I want to re-read it immediately.


6 thoughts on “Book Review: Peter Pan – By: J.M. Barrie

  1. I have never read the book version of this story – only the play. I think the play was written first, but am not sure. It’s been awhile since I’ve even read the play, but I remember feeling like the Disney movie lost a bit of the essence and meaning of Peter Pan. Particularly the Lost Boys.

    Is it weird that I don’t find the callous mentions of killing to be so terrible? It feels like a children’s play game, I guess, where death is a paper towel rod beneath your armpit and a feint to the floor.

    Have you read the play as well? And if so, how do the two compare?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely agree that Disney’s version is missing something. It has the main concept, the overlying story, but it doesn’t really get the mood and the possible meanings that you could pull from the book.
      I never thought about Peter’s killing the boys in that way, but now that you mention it, it does seem to make some sort of sense. Like, everything is a game to Peter.
      I haven’t read the play, but now that you mention it I think that I should, and a comparison post may be in order after that! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Classics Club | LaChatBlanc

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