OK, so this is supposed to be a book for the kiddies, but this review is not,
because I don't have much good to say about it, and just may say something offensive. I don't believe I read it or even saw any films of it when
I was a kid, but reading it as an adult, I was appalled. I read it a number of years ago before I began writing reviews, and thought it was horrible then.
This time around it was even worse. Like other "children's" stories, adults can see through the enchantment and grasp all the other innuendos. That
goes for most fairy tales, and certainly Alice in Wonderland and the funky mushrooms, etc.. But people kinda know about that, and Alice had some
good adventures. With this one, however, you don't find much written except that it has become a classic tale of the innocence of youth. Maybe because it
was such a big deal with Disney, and god forbid, we don't say anything bad about Disney, especially on
However, they do provide a link about "Peter Pan Syndrome,"
(Puer aeternus), which gets a little closer to the problem. Incidentally, if you follow the news a little more in detail than the
MSM publishes, you will realize that Disney is anything but squeaky clean. For starters, they are certainly one of the film makers who always make
sure there are chemtrails in their backgrounds. Yep. It's called conditioning. Make it seem natural, so people won't notice that our government
and military are spraying the hell out of us with poisons. I realize J.M. Barrie didn't know about chemtrails or Disney when he wrote Peter Pan, but he still
may have deliberately included the innuendos, since the character Peter Pan first appeared in an adult novel,
The Little White Bird, in 1902.
Wikipedia describes the book as "British novel by J.M. Barrie, ranging in tone from fantasy and whimsy to social comedy with dark, aggressive undertones." But what is more eyebrow-raising is their description of the main theme:
The main theme of the book is an exploration of the intimate emotional relationship of the narrator, a childless Victorian era retired soldier and London bachelor, with a young boy born to a working-class married couple in the same neighbourhood. The narrator secretly assists the couple financially, while meeting with the young boy in various "adventures", presented in a disjointed series of episodes in the book in which the narrator seeks to find a feeling of closeness with the boy, expressed as a desire for fatherhood, as well as other less clearly defined ideas. Peter Hollindale professor of English and Education Studies at the University of York (retired, 1999), has written extensively about James Barrie and the Peter Pan stories. He states that while modern psychology enables readers to find hints of various abnormalities in the story, it also remains "strangely innocent and asexual.
Hmmm. Well, maybe, but I certainly do NOT, as an adult, believe Peter Pan is
innocent of sexual innuendo. Incidentally, his character went through several different developments, including a stage play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who
Wouldn't Grow Up, (1904). The novel finally came in 1911, first published as Peter and Wendy.
And furthermore, his "last name," Pan is associated with the god Pan, who, according to Wikipedia, "is often associated with sexuality." An early edition of Peter and Wendy, illustrated by F.D. Bedford, pictures Peter playing the pipes, (sometimes called panpipes). If you dig even deeper, you will find some strange things about the life of J.M. Barrie, such as that his marriage (and subsequent divorce) from Mary Ansell, "was reportedly unconsummated." Barrie's older brother, his mother's favorite, died in an ice skating accident when Barrie was six years old. He tried to fill David's place in his mother's heart. "Barrie's mother found comfort in the fact that her dead son would remain a boy forever, never to grow up and leave her."
Barrie also became friends with the Llewelyn Davies family, the mother, Sylvia being the aunt of Daphne du Maurier. Barrie was a "regular visitor at the Davies household and a common companion to Sylvia and her boys" this being while they were both married. But later after Sylvia died, he claimed that they had planned to be married, although there is no other evidence to back that up. Wikipedia also mentions that Barrie "had friendships with other children." OK, so it's not wrong to love children and enjoy being around them. Lots of people fit that description, and they are often teachers or care-givers, but Barrie sounds more like a pervert.
Whew! For a book I didn't like this is turning into a long review, but the more information I turn up, the more fascinating this all becomes, and especially confirms my perceptions of the book. So here, let me insert, let me rant, about all the creepy stuff here.
First, the story is insulting to both parents and children, making the children into "brats" and the parents into weaklings. There is sexual innuendo between Tinker Bell and Peter, and between Wendy and Peter, thus the immensely jealous feelings of Tinker Bell toward Wendy. Incidentally, Tinker Bell spews offensive language, most of what is not translated, except "Silly Ass," which I do not believe is appropriate for a children's book. The fact that the little girl Wendy is taken to Neverland to be a "mother" to all those boys is a little creepy, too, especially since Peter is both "the father" and her "son." The story is insulting toward Indigenous Americans, referring to them as savage "redskins." In fact, the entire book is filled with stereotypes. A nightly ritual is to always "take medicine," (did people back then take that much medicine, really?). But one sentence absolutely floored me. It takes place after Wendy and her brothers, John and Michael, have flown off to Neverland with Peter, and they have set up housekeeping with Wendy as their mother.
So great indeed was their faith in a mother's love that they felt they could afford to be callous for a bit longer.
But there was one there who knew better; and when Wendy finished he uttered a hollow groan.
"What is it, Peter?" she cried, running to him, thinking he was ill. She felt him, solicitously, lower down than his chest. "Where is it, Peter?"
HUH? EEEK! OK, I know a kid might not think anything of that sentence, (a young
kid), but an adult sure would!! And on that perplexing quote, I will wrap up this review. I realize I still did not say much about the action of the story,
but most people probably have an idea. If not, here is an extremely brief summary.
Wendy, John, and Michael Darling are three children of loving parents who have a Newfoundland for a nanny, (who proves to be smarter than Mr. Darling). Mrs. Darling vaguely remembers a boy named Peter who never grew up, from her own childhood, and she sees him again at night when the children are asleep, and she is rummaging through their minds to tidy up and get rid of all the day's evil thoughts. Then one night, Peter steals in. Mrs. Darling and the children are asleep, but the mother awakens and sees him:
He was a lovely boy, clad in skeleton leaves and the juices that ooze out of trees; but the most entrancing thing about him was that he had all his first teeth. When he saw she was a grown-up, he gnashed the little pearls at her.
Anyways, he tries to escape, but as he leaves, Mrs. Darling shuts the window before his
shadow escapes with him. Therefore, he must come back to retrieve it, and when he does, he takes all the children with him. I also want to mention that he
really wasn't interested in John and Michael, just Wendy.
And so, they fly off to Neverland, where the children meet the other "lost boys." They meet the mermaids, who really don't like the other children, just Peter. They fight the redskins, until Peter saves the maiden Tiger Lily from the Pirates, led by Captain Hook.
It is Captain Hook who becomes their worst enemy, wanting revenge on Peter, who cut off his hand and fed it to the crocodile, who got a taste for Hook, (now so called because of the metal weapon that replaced his hand). But the approach of the crocodile (who by the way is female!), is never a surprise, because she had also swallowed a clock and ticks wherever she goes. Hook's greatest fear is that the clock will run down.
And so, Wendy spends her day doing "motherly" things, but eventually there is a showdown. The redskins are guarding the boys' little house underground, but the pirates slaughter them and capture the boys, all but Peter, who finally gets his wish to defeat Hook.
Then they all fly home, including the lost boys, who are adopted by the Darlings, all except Peter, who refuses to grow up.
So there you have it. Incidentally, Barrie wrote quite a few books, and when I checked him out on Project Gutenberg, I realized I had one of them that I saw on the Dover website, The Admirable Crichton, an adult comedy. So I downloaded a few more adult books. If you want to be perverted in an adult book, that's OK. So if you want to read this one to your little children or grandchildren, be aware. Then re-tell it to them in your own words without all the sexual innuendos, stereotypes and offensiveness.
And one final note: The Dover edition pictured at the top of the page is not the one I own. Mine is a rather old and ugly used-book-store variety with the pages completely clean, unmarked and readable, so there's no reason to replace it. However, whenever I read a non-Dover book, but one that Dover carries, I always refer my readers to that one, because Dover has been extremely good to me and I like them immensely. If you type in Peter Pan in the search box at the top of their site, a whole bunch of editions and related materials, including artwork, comes up. Incidentally, The Story of Peter Pan is NOT the same book, but would probably be more appropriate for children. I had to laugh at Charlotte Whatley's paper doll version pictured below. HAHA! Now that's more like it!!
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