Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

I read this book for my February Reading Assignment Challenge and for the Classics Challenge as an Adventure Story. This also fits Been on TBR 'Forever' for the Full House challenge, and Listen to an Audiobook for Reading Bingo.
Peter Pan
Puffin Books

So this was my first time reading Peter Pan, but I loved the Disney version growing up and even watched the Peter Pan with Mary Martin when I was little. To me the book and the Disney version are pretty close, except for the amount of violence. The story is Wendy, John, and Michael Darling love to hear their mother tell stories and they are not the only one. Often Peter Pan with Tinkerbell in tow sits outside the window hearing the stories and taking them back to Neverland to the Lost Boys. One night Peter ventures into the nursery and is chased off by Nana, the dog nurse of the Darlings, but Peter leaves behind his shadow. He comes back for his shadow and needs Wendy's help to sow it on and whisks her and the Darling boys off to Neverland much to the grief of their parents. The three enjoy the adventures with Peter, fighting pirates, the Pica Ninnies, and the wolves. Wendy enjoys being the boys' mother, but knows eventually they will need to go home. Peter never wants to grow up and does not want them to leave. Will they go home or be stuck in Neverland forever?

I love Barrie's portrayal of children as happy and heartless, only looking for their own pleasure until the grow up into adults. Peter Pan is both likable and irritating and is the perfect symbol of youth. We all want to go on our own adventures without thought to our parents and their feelings. As adults we give completely of ourselves to children and parents often make sacrifices for the little happiness of the children. To me the book reminded me of my childhood, both in how it compared to the Disney version and how I was as a young girl. Along with his portrayal of the heartlessness of youth, Barrie creates characters like Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily, and Captain Hook who are neither perfectly good or perfectly bad, but somewhere in between. Both his way of telling the story and his well crafted characters draw you into the story and keep you there. This was a quick listen, but a good adventure story that is delightful for both the young and old. I like that at the end it includes information about how "redskins" is not acceptable as a term at all in today's society and the book is one where I would mention to children the changing role of women as well as the appropriate way to talk about a culture different from your own. Jim Dale was the narrator and he is phenomenal with capturing the different voices and with showing the suspense of the situations. 4 cups of cocoa! 

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