Review: Peter Pan by JM Barrie

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In preparation for my trip to Disney World earlier this summer, I vowed to watch all the classic Disney movies I forgot or never saw. Peter Pan made the list, and a week before my big trip I watched the film and memories of seeing the movie as a child poured over me. After it was over, I thought, why does Disney get all the credit for these lovely fantasy tales? The creative mind behind the story needs some recognition, too. Thus began my new oath to read all the stories Disney so elegantly wove into the animations we grew up with. Peter Pan just so happened to be the start of my personal movement.

I actually feel I’ve read this before when I was young enough to fly to Neverland with Peter and Tinkerbell, but I don’t think I understood it very well. The writing is rather odd, somewhat like Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Barrie puts in his input on characters, scenes, and plot line. At one point, he did a “coin toss” to decide which story of Neverland he wanted to tell! He acknowledged the fact he was the author and we were the spectators. It was quite interesting to read a book in that way.

Everyone knows the basic themes: growing up takes away your fun and mothers are important. The thing that Barrie mentions a lot is not only that adulthood is dull, but that children are selfish creatures. He says that only children could have flown out of the window into the glorious arms of Neverland because they are heartless enough to not think of the consequences. Wendy and her brothers stayed away for an awfully long time, always expecting the window to be left open. In his opinion, Mrs. Darling should have shut the window of the nursery to teach them a lesson. The author was disagreeing with the way the story ended! That was a first! The novel was light and airy and full of magic, nothing like the seriousness of all the books I’ve been reading in the young adult (dystiopian) fiction genre.

Mostly, the book and the movie matched pretty well. Peter Pan could definitely be a read aloud bedtime story for children, which seemed to be what it was intended for. Some parts dragged a tad, but there was a new adventure every couple chapters.

All in all, 3.5/5 stars

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