“All children, except one, grow up.”
— J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Boy oh boy, did I miss out on a classic! Everyone seems to be born knowing the story of Peter Pan. Well, actually, I speak on behalf of all 90s kid here. The animated movie version of Peter Pan is so well encrusted into our culture that we barely even need to be thought about it to know who on earth this kid is. I mean, think about it. Peter, freaking, Pan. The small, dipped in green, bright smile, flying boy. Oh, and let’s not forget his trustee side-kick that seems just as hard to forget about. Tinker Bell? Gosh. These two magically presents themselves in our minds at the mere mention of their names. Talk about a legacy. But wait. There’s a catch. Peter Pan isn’t just about some boy with a fairy and some crazy place called Neverland. Oh, no, no, no. Peter Pan is actually so much more. The only way to find out is through his classic story written by the one and only J.M. Barrie. If you thought you knew Peter Pan, think again. His adventures are of the most unexpected kind. They are topped off by a very sad ending that has yet to reach the minds of every fan of the movie adaptations.
Peter Pan. The boy who represents everlasting youth and eternal joy. Who would’ve thought that this cocky child could have so much juice in him. He’s pompous, energetic, light on his feet, arrogant, stubborn and forever young! Reading this, you can see all the splendid things that comes from never growing up, but you’re always left with that nagging feeling in the back of your head that asks you if such a life is actually self-actualizing. I mean, does anyone in Peter Pan’s situation actually reach a point where he’s fully exploited his potentials? J.M. Barrie’s novel helps us reflect on so many elements of life, and all that thanks to children’s tale. Upon finishing this classic, you’re also bound to realize the sadness that clouds this story. If that ending doesn’t put all the adventures you’ve went on with Peter Pan into retrospective, I don’t know what would. Then again, let’s not water down the unique and fictional world that the author was able to create. Fairies, pirates and mermaids? All in one? And even more? That’s wild.
The story also strongly focuses strongly on mother figures and their unconditional love towards their children. It’s fascinating to read all the make-belief actions that the kids in Neverland do just to make something real for them. As delusional as they may be in their need of a mother figure and their desire to see it within Wendy, it sometimes rubs off a little too strong and wildly throughout their adventures. In fact, it’s not just Peter Pan who wishes for a mother that would actually love him, it’s basically every single boy out there. J.M. Barrie isn’t shy in making it evident that he acknowledges a strong role for mothers in the growth of children. While everyone wants to stay young forever, readers still find out that childhood is not meant to last till the end of times. That growing up will catch up to us. But that doesn’t mean that we should all put our little childish devil in all of us aside. On the contrary. What this novel showed me is the importance of childhood, of mothers (and fathers today?) and of life’s fairness.
I still found the Captain-Hook-and-the-crocodile subplot one of the most lyrical part of the book. I mean, that was one hell of a pirate’s tale! If there’s anything I would’ve loved to see more, it’s definitely those two. Those were glorious moments of my read of Peter Pan, that’s for sure. Peter Pan is one of those classics that we take for granted as a easy story to tell and not have to read. Hell, it’s even easier to just watch its animated adaptations or its 1001 live-action adaptations, and feel like Peter Pan was one of our long lost buddies in a parallel universe. After reading this for the first time, I’ll have to say that it’s far from what you’d expect. It delivers a completely different story with completely different messages. And the mere delivery makes Peter Pan worth the read. You’ll even be up for a treat when you find out what Tinker Bell likes to say when she has something to say!
Did you read Peter Pan yet? What did you think about it?
You haven’t read it, you say?
How about you read this story for yourself!
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