How many of you have seen the Disney adaptation of Peter Pan?
How about Hook?
The new version of Peter Pan?
Now how many of you have actually read the book?
Awhile back J. M. Barrie's house went up for sale in England. I can say that if I were a millionaire I would've bought it immediately.
The Peter Pan copy I own is actually my mothers. She received it when she was a little kid for Christmas in the year of 1959. In fact, the header photo of this blog is an actual photo of my mother's book. It's old and has a faint dusky smell to it. When you open it up to a page it remains on that page with little effort.
All my life I've had Peter Pan around me. I was always the opposite of Peter, I always wanted to grow up, the majority of my play times were where I was a mother or I was going to school at a much higher grade then what I was actually in. Despite that Neverland is full of children who do not age they still have Wendy who is eagerly playing a grown up role.
It's fun to read the book then watch all of the movie adaptations. J.M. Barrie made it so easy for film makers in that he describes everyones outfits, what Neverland is like, even the details as to how we on the 'main land' can spot it- if only briefly. There is definitely a narrator in this story making written decisions between telling of one adventure or another. In the first chapter where the pirates are introduced he (the narrator) even declares that now was a good time to kill one of the pirates and so one of the pirates is killed. The narrator holds the power of the story despite that Peter has such a strong presence.
If there is such a thing as a perfect 'growing up' tale then this must be it. To grow up watching the films and reading the books. To play pretend and wish yourself that you could fly to Neverland. But you grow up none the less and then, years later, when you see a commercial for Peter Pan you know that that book, that film, was your childhood.
I cannot tell you the number of times I tried to jump off my bed, chairs, the porch steps, my swing set in pursuit of thinking happy thoughts and taking off to the stars. I would constantly look for fairies, hoping they liked me much better then Tink would, and never saw one directly.
The book is lovely and I do believe something that can never be forgotten. The language in the book could be somewhat confusing for a child to hear or read because it's language of a time where language was much more proper then it is now. But the story remains enchanting and full of imagination. The movies also (I simply ADORE Finding Neverland and I grew up with Hook... Rufio! Rufio!)
As I said, Barrie made it very easy for filmmakers to make a nearly exact scripted version of the book, but there is one thing that lacks from all of the films compared to the book.
Each scene, each magical moment, the descriptions of the lagoon, the anger of the pirates, they are displayed on a screen and passed on but when you read those words you can linger on it for a moment longer or a moment shorter- whichever you like. And you can allow yourself to do a cannonball into the lagoon. You can hide from the pirates. You can smell the scents of flowers and hear the tinkling bells of the fairies. The book let's the mind imagine so much more, it brings Peter Pan even more to life, and when you are done with the book and placing it on the shelf you can find yourself questioning... did I know Peter Pan when I was a child too?
I adore this book. Forever and ever it will be a favorite of mine. I press all of those who have children to read this book to them and even if you are childless it doesn't matter your age; pick up the book and dive in!