Book: Peter Pan and Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J.M. Barrie
Release Date: 1904
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
The magical Peter Pan comes to the night nursery of the Darling children, Wendy, John and Michael. He teaches them to fly, then takes them through the sky to Never-Never Land, where they find Red Indians, wolves, Mermaids and… Pirates.
The leader of the pirates is the sinister Captain Hook. His hand was bitten off by a crocodile, who, as Captain Hook explains ‘liked me arm so much that he has followed me ever since, licking his lips for the rest of me’. After lots of adventures, the story reaches its exciting climax as Peter, Wendy and the children do battle with Captain Hook and his band.
Peter Pan is a figure I think we all remember thanks to the Disney movies about him. Most of us will also know that it is based on a book by J.M. Barrie. Based but certainly not the same. While the main idea is the same, Peter Pan and the others are a bit different.
While Peter Pan and the other story in the book I read, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, were quite short, it did not feel like it at all. In fact especially the starts of both stories felt incredibly drawn out by longwinded descriptions of for instance of Kensington Gardens or of the children’s parents.
From there on the writing style continued to be dry. There was nothing really vibrant about the text. Some of the ideas also pushed it a little. I remember Nanna the dog from the movie. I didn’t realize that this nanny dog would be spoken to as if she was a human though. It was a bit ridiculous. I can appreciate the creativity though that went into Neverland. And while that was certainly the most exciting part, the characters fell flat on me. They were all stereotypical and I kind of missed the deepening of their characters with the exception of Peter himself. But he was not all that likeable.
All in all I am still glad I read it. Knowing the original source from a story we all know well is important I feel.