Recently, I took a few days to read the story of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. Of course, this is a story that I have been familiar with since I was a child. I loved this movie as a kid because I loved the idea of make-believe and Neverland. Therefore, I decided to check out the original source. I am glad I did. Though this story was very similar to the versions I saw as a kid, this story was a bit darker, a bit more gruesome, and a bit lonelier than other versions I had come into contact with.
Personally, I enjoyed this grittier version of the story. Like Grimm’s versions of fairy tales, the darker twist on the stories makes them more exciting. Peter Pan is a boy who refuses to grow up. He takes children from their homes to come play with him for a while in Neverland, an imaginary island populated by children’s imaginations.
I think there is a part of Peter Pan in most of us, the part of us that never wants to grow up. The part of us that wants to continue to play games and pretend. I think that is what makes this story so compelling. At the same time, though, we see how never growing up has affected Peter, and we realize that growing up is a necessary part of life.
Overall, I would say this is a good story. While reading it, I kept thinking, is this something I will read to my children one day? It’s a difficult call. Though the story is something that children would enjoy, some of the content seems more like it was written for an older audience and children would have a difficult time following it. However, this could just be due to the age of the book. Perhaps a hundred years ago when the story was published children had better attention spans than they do today.
Then again, perhaps this story, which is always portrayed as a children’s story, was always intended to be more for adults than children.