You guys all know the story of Peter Pan, right? A boy who refuses to grow up flies through the window of Wendy, John, and Michael’s nursery and leads them to Neverland, where they meet the lost boys and battle pirates.
Peter Pan was originally a play that was first performed in 1904. In 1911, the author turned his play in to a novel. I have read (and watched) a few modernized versions of the Peter Pan story, but I didn’t know how they compared to the original, so I decided to read the 1911 novel.
The original story is much darker, weirder, and sadder than the modern versions. At times, it reminded me more of Alice in Wonderland than the modern versions of Peter Pan. Neverland is sometimes a strange, sinister place. There is death and danger around every corner.
Even though the story is a bit creepy, I think the author perfectly captures the spirit of childhood. The adventures that the children have in Neverland are a lot like the games that children play in real life. I also really like that the children sometimes can’t tell the difference between real and pretend. At one point, Peter has to ask Wendy if they are “just pretending” because he isn’t sure. The small details like that make the characters feel very childlike.
The characters in the original story are also slightly different from their modern counterparts. Honestly, Peter got on my nerves a little. He often came across as a manipulative, self-centered, violent bully. The original Peter Pan is a complex character, but he’s not very likeable.
My favorite character is Tinker Bell. She’s bad-tempered and fond of the word “ass.” I found her amusing.
I’m not sure what modern children would think of this story. The plot is entertaining, but the language and gender roles are outdated. I think a lot of younger children would struggle to understand the story without help from an adult. Older children and teens could probably read it without too many problems.
I’m glad I read this book. It’s interesting to compare the original to the modern versions and see how stories change over time. I now want to read the play.