Publisher: Collins Classics
Published: 1911 (this edition 2015)
Once again, I’ll start this post by apologising for the overly festive photo! Now, onto the important stuff. After somehow failing to read J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, the story of a magical island where children never grow up, as a child I’ve finally picked it up aged sixteen. I enjoyed this book, yet I feel I would have enjoyed it more when I was younger. Reading it as someone approaching the scary world of adulthood this book is actually quite sad, as it makes one appreciate the downside of growing older and losing one’s childhood innocence. This is a fun adventure story readers will enjoy as a child, then analyse when they are a little older. When one really considers this book, it’s fair to say its true meaning is actually quite dark!
However, on the most basic level, Peter Pan does remain an imaginative adventure story for children. Although the most obvious example of Barrie’s imaginative writing is his description of Neverland, he also deserves credit for creating characters with various entertaining quirks. The Lost Boys, a tribe of young orphans running wild on the island, and their enemies the pirates are particularly amusing because they all have unique, humorous personality traits. The Lost Boys really are the perfect “loveable rogues”, and Captain Hook is the ultimate darkly-humorous mad villain. Unfortunately, the only characters in this book I didn’t like were its two protagonists- Peter Pan himself and his friend Wendy Darling. Wendy was just too simpering; Peter was just too arrogant. That being said, I did like Peter and The Lost Boys’ mischievousness and the way their schemes acted upon most children’s wildest dreams.
Now I move on to discussing the most famous part of this novel since one simply can’t review Peter Pan without mentioning Neverland. The island really is a place where all one’s childhood dreams seem to have come true- if you can imagine it it’s probably mentioned! The Lost Boys’ underground den deserves a special mention when discussing said childhood nostalgia, as I refuse to believe anyone never tried to dig themselves a den in their backgarden. The actual inhabitants of Neverland, ranging from fairies to mermaids, are another thing that give the island a dreamlike quality. Regardless of age, I feel everyone can appreciate the idea of never growing up in a place where all your dreams are catered for. I particularly liked the way time doesn’t seem to pass on Neverland, creating the impression that all everyday worries are irrelevant there. Part of the reason Barrie’s novel is such a perfect adventure story for children can be attributed to this brilliant setting.
As a whole, Peter Pan is a quick, fun read with some rather sad undertones. It’s definitely worth your time if you’ve only ever seen the Disney adaptation, as Barrie’s version of Neverland is much more interesting, yet darker, than the twee world shown in the film. I never liked the adaptation as a child, and felt the book was more enjoyable because it wasn’t as overly happy. This is a beautifully narrated fairytale ideal for a youngster’s bedtime caper that can be enjoyed, but perhaps not loved due to its slightly simplistic narrative and childlike premise, by adults too.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3/5)