Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, was originally created as a play which premiered in London on December 27, 1904. The story was later on published as a novel with the title “Peter and Wendy” and through the following years several adaptations had been made including a Broadway musical, ballet, and animated film.
I have to confess that this is the first time I have read the story although Peter Pan, Wendy, Tinkerbell and Hook are fairly familiar to me, due to the movie, Hook (1991), which I got to watch with my siblings back in high school. It was one wonderful family bonding moment the reason why the movie stayed in my memory until now.
Peter Pan and his adventures at Neverland is a fascinating read. The original story in print was more absorbing, extra interesting, than the movie because I was able to learn more about each of the characters – the seemingly unlikeable Mr. Darling, the very affectionate Mrs. Darling, the ever so watchful Nana, the motherly Wendy, the always arguing brothers John and Michael, the forgetful Peter, the insecure Captain Hook, the jealous Tinkerbell, and the predatory crocodile. That is why in my hierarchy of interests, reading always goes first from watching movies.
Written as a children’s story, Peter Pan the novel tells of the beauty of youth and the wonders of childhood. The mermaids, fairies, and magic indeed play a great part in a child’s life and imagination. As a child, dreams were a big deal to me. Some were pleasant and some were recurring nightmares. And I had also dreamt of flying, like the flying that Wendy and her brothers did, though I had not dreamt of Neverland. Were it not that all children, at some time or another, wish they could fly? In fact, as an adult, I still dream of flying over treetops and oceans and mountains. 😀
More than a story about being a child, Peter Pan is also a story about growing up. It tells the difference between what is real and what is a fantasy. More than ever, it tells of the virtue of choice. Wendy chose to grow up, Peter chose to live as a carefree boy.
I especially love the last chapter, “When Wendy Grew Up”. Life in its normal cycle went on for Wendy, who chose to live in reality where she grew up and had a little girl of her own, whom Peter from time to time (if he doesn’t forget!) visited and took with him to Neverland for spring cleaning. And I like how Wendy, all grown up and motherly, still has those moments where she could look back and think, with satisfaction, of what a wonderful childhood she had back then. Didn’t we all wanted to do just like that? To grow up and then look back with fondness at how we had firmly believed in fairies and magic and flying?
Recommended for all ages. Wonderful bedtime story.
Book cover image from Amazon.
My free PDF copy from Kids4Classics.