Peter Pan - J. M. Barrie

I confess: until now, I'd never actually read Peter Pan. Of course, like many others, I'd seen the Disney movie (and even ridden the ride at Disney World), so I thought I knew the story, but it really doesn't even come close. I knew something was up when I was trying to read a shortened Chinese version and there were scenes I didn't recognize at all, but at first I thought maybe it was just, you know, those wacky Chinese translators. But after watching "Finding Neverland" I decided it was high time I got around to reading it.

It's wonderful, and cheeky, and almost unsuitable for children. I was surprised how much it has in common with some of today's animated movies ("Shrek," for instance) which kids can enjoy but are full of humor aimed at adult audiences. Barrie quite often addresses the reader directly and is very opinionated about the characters in the book. In particular, he thinks the children are shameless for flying away from their parents without a care in the world (despite his obvious joy at describing their adventures in Neverland). One of my favorite passages on that topic:

Off we skip like the most heartless things in the world, which is what children are, but so attractive; and we have an entirely selfish time, and then when we have need of special attention we nobly return for it, confident that we shall be rewarded instead of smacked.

I really enjoyed the book, which I read aloud to Robyn as a bedtime story, even though she kept falling asleep and missing all the good parts. But I guess that's how it would work for kids, too: they hear the action but ignore the asides.

Fed to jonathan's brain | September 28, 2005 | Comments (0)


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