I always go through a phase during the year year in which I start reading classics, I started with Frankenstein recently, of which I also wrote a few lines, and now I continue with Peter Pan. I have said it several times, but I really like those lists of compulsory readings, “100 books to read before you die” or “200 classics you must read” “Time magazine says you haven’t read any of these 120 books” where every year I get to cross out more and more. Will the time ever come when the list I read will be complete, will I have read all the books? I do not know. But Peter Pan is on many of these lists, for sure. I’m ticking many boxes with this one.
With Peter Pan, what happened to me is what happens to everyone when we read the “classics.” You start thinking: How did this work become so famous and acclaimed? In addition to the adaptation of Disney, which is a rather diluted version of the original work, I have had some chills reading this story. It is, in many ways, quite scary. I guess the children of the early twentieth century were different from the current ones.
Today Peter Pan is considered a symbol of eternal childhood, and, helped by Michael Jackson and his personality and his old home he decided to call Neverland, all which gave the name to a syndrome. But beyond that, the original work looks like an analysis of a person with mental problems. There is an arbitrariness in the characters and in the situations described that it is sometimes difficult to assimilate. In addition, although less surprising, the author plays with the gender issue all the time, going from one limit to the other constantly: on the one hand, saying that women are smarter than men, but on the other, limiting women to a mother’s role, but, being this book over 100 years old, I repeat, it may not be so surprising that it is so. I don’t know what you thought about that, when you were reading the book?
What I don’t want to spoil is the end of the book, but I think it’s what is more different from the version we all know from Disney, and that intermingles Peter Pan II, and the Hook movie all in one. It is clear that all these films really had an origin in the book, or at least, their initial inspiration. The ending is very strange, and it makes you doubt about the whole story: Is it all true, is it a dream, or is it the result of a delusional author? For the reader to decide.
Final comment: I am glad to get Peter Pan off my reading list, because, to be really honest, if I had the chance I would not read it again. To those who have not read it, I always say that it is better that they draw their own conclusions, and read the book first, and then comment if they liked it or not. Then, we can discuss it. Every person ticks differently, and it may be that you love this book. Who knows?
Book quote: “All children, except one, grow up.”
Keep on reading,