This Review contains spoilers.
“To die will be an awfully big adventure.”
Published: 2015, by William Collins.
Genre: Classics, Fantasy, Fiction, Childrens, Adventure
Contains: Death, Violence, Blood/Gore
‘Peter Pan’ tells the charming tale of a young boy who refuses to grow up. He finds himself at the nursery of Wendy, John and Michael Darling when looking for his shadow and takes them on a magical journey to Neverland; home to mermaids, fairies and pirates.
Peter Pan has been one of my favourite stories since I was a child, having become attached to Walt Disney’s adaptation of the tale and felt as if I’d waited long enough to read the original. I had such high expectations, and I’m so happy that I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.
One of the main things I loved about this story was the exploration of Peter’s character. In all film adaptations I’ve seen, Peter is the lovable hero of the tale, honing in on his courage and the admiration from his loved ones. However, this tale shows so much more to his character than I could ever ask for. Peter is heartless, vulnerable and we’re are constantly reminded that he’s a child. Peter Pan has flaws and Barrie reminds us of them on numerous occasions in the story. His character is plagued by loneliness, leading him to the heartbreaking climax of not remembering Tinker Bell and his reaction to Wendy’s ageing and I loved that. Although, it was understandably something Disney decided to leave out, I’m glad this ending exists. It explores the harsh truths of the once tempting world of Neverland.
Mrs Darling is another character I was drawn to throughout the story, loving her strong will and adoration for her children. There are far too many mothers in stories blinded by their love for children, yet she was stern but comforting throughout and capable controlling her husband’s temper and immaturity with elegant skill.
The story overall wasn’t much different from the one I knew well, with a few gory details added in. Wendy’s love for Peter and parental instinct was charming to read, Tinker Bell’s short-temper and jealousy was hilarious and the Lost Boys were as entertaining as the versions I was familiar with. However, the darker side of Peter Pan made this version so much better. I loved reading of the details behind the villain’s hooked hand, the history behind the lost boys and the heroes somewhat disturbing means of entertainment; I mean, Disney definitely skimmed past the part where Peter and the boys would hunt pirates while they were sleeping for sport!
It was clear J.M. Barrie had a story to tell with ‘Peter Pan’, and it was executed beautifully. Everyone should read this book, as no adaptation comes close to the original.