Review of The Original Book Peter & Wendy By J.M. Barrie

All children grow up except one. This is the story of Peter, of Wendy, their adventures in Neverland. The whimsical dream like state of youth, the sadness and sorrow of change, and of growing up and belonging. First published in 1911 by Hodder & Stoughton in the United Kingdom and Charles Scribner's Sons in the United States.

I’d rate this book a 3.5/5 

I read this book as a way to get inspiration for my Peter Pan Collection.

Yet It’s really one of those stories so old, so ingrained, that even if you’ve never read the book you feel you have. The story of Peter, the lost boys, pirates, Neverland. A story that’s been retold so many times.

Although the basic story is timeless and it’s has such beauty in it. Some of the content is outdated, such as the term used to describe Tiger Lily and her people, the gender roles so rigidly defined(Wendy’s use as a woman is to care for boys)and well Tinker Bell’s offensive language (shame on you Tink👀😂) Plus the violence. I’m not sure this book would necessarily be suitable for young children of today.

One fact of the book I found the most troublesome perhaps was the use of “medicine” described in the beginning as a white milky substance, which was most likely opiates, in the time this book was written it was common place to give children heroine or moraphine before bed, marketed as promoting sleep and a general cure all. So Neverland might have really been nothing more than a drug induced delusion. Not really the authors fault or intention to add something  so illicit, rather another shocking glimpse into that time period.

The role of women in this book, I’m not very comfortable with it. Poor Wendy constantly sewing and caring for them, mothers are ment to happily do these tasks, “girls are of more use than twenty men”, yes because apparently men are incapable of caring for themselves, this is such an entirely outdated concept in this book. Men are capable of anything and Women are not solely caregivers, but mother’s are unsung heroes that part I whole heartedly agree.

Tiger Lily, probably one of the strongest of female role models in the book, was only briefly a part of the story, and some of the adjectives used to describe her and her people are both offensive and yet another unsettling example of the time.

It does have a magic to it though. The whole storyline between Peter and Wendy so sweet. He loves her, she loves him, but between his conceit and obliviousness to everything it leaves him unable to admit it. He longs deeply for a mother yet will never admit he misses his own.  The saddest part is who am I kidding there’s so many sad parts, but he forgets, Wendy never does. The pure innocence of their love story is my favorite part of the book.

The character of Peter himself, briefly described in the beginning as a guide to children who have been recently deceased, occumpaning them to the afterlife so that they are not afraid. I feel the sadness in him, hid behind a demeanor of arrogance, and heartlessness. His ability to forgot or block out painful memories is probably the only thing allowing him to continue appearing carefree and joyful.

There is a great deal of humor and oddities I found in this book as well. Tinker Bell 👀😂 oh my! I’m an adult so I found her language hilarious, I mean she’s such a sassy little thing with her foul mouth and always hating on Wendy, but come on if you’re best friend, the boy you were in love with was chasing after another girl wouldn’t you be a little jealous, or as in her case down right crazy, consumed with it.

Mr. Darling such an odd character in the beginning I wasn’t too fond of him, but by the end he was rather endearing, with his self imposed punishment, and his welcoming of the lost boys.

Smee & Hook, oh well, I couldn’t help but be completely intrigued by Hook, such a Nobel man, yet couldn’t let go of his childish rivalry with Peter. Smee, well even the children found him lovable, my favorite description of him is “One could mention many lovable traits in Smee. For instance, after killing, it was his spectacles he wiped instead of his weapon” that’s so me, literally lol.

I honestly wish the book was longer and had more chapters devoted to each character, but I guess I could always browse through Amazon and find a reimagining of it to read, there are so many focusing on each character, retold in many different genres, I even stumbled upon an erotica novel of Hook, which I have not read, so I could neither recommend or suggest, but if you’re interested in such readings be my guest and comment below. Let me know if it’s worth reading or if there are any other books inspired by The world of Neverland you would recommend.

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