Monday, April 13, 2015

Flying with Peter

Peter Pan
by J.M. Barrie
Genre: Fantasy (Middle-Grade)

"As he flies through the skies of London, Peter Pan spies the Darling children in their nursery. Curious, he sneaks into their house, but is almost caught. In his hurry to escape, Peter leaves his shadow behind. 

"When he returns to reclaim it, he meets Wendy Darling and her brothers, John and Michael. Soon he convinces them to fly off with him and his not-very-polite fairy to the magical Neverland, the island where he lives as captain of the lost boys. But a war is raging between the lost boys and pirates, and the evil Captain Hook wants to rid the island of the boys for good, especially the cocky Peter. Will he succeed?" 

(We probably all know the story of Peter Pan, but I included the synopsis in case it's been a while since you watched the different movie variations.)

I've always adored the tale of Peter Pan and have seen all of the movies several times. The story of a boy who can fly and never grows up draws me like a bee to nectar. And, of course, there are mermaids, which (nearly) always help any story. I can't believe that it took me this long to read this book, but I'm glad I did. And I probably appreciate it more that I'm older, because although it's written for children, there are some literary aspects, humor, and British sayings that my older self appreciated. 

Yet, reading this book took me back to my childhood and live it all over again. I, too, was a child flying freely with Peter Pan, reading stories to the lost boys, and fighting the pirates without fear. 

There are differences in this book compared to the movies, of course, but they didn't bother me because I was wholly in the world that Barrie created. And what a fascinating, fun world it is! 

One thing, however, did bother me. The author doesn't bring you very close to the characters. Sure, you hear their thoughts and feel some of their feelings, but you're always bobbing about, first to this person, then to this one, and you're never taken to the core of who the person is. In fact, I felt closer to the narrator than any of the characters because he was so effervescent. 

Usually I don't like it when the narrators pops his/her head up and talks to the reader, disturbing her from the story. But in this book, for some unknown reason, I didn't mind it. Possibly because the narrator was talkative from the beginning, and the reader felt slightly apart from the characters the entire time. I do have to say, though, that the narrator did annoy me a few times, especially when he gave his opinions on the characters and children in general. Why couldn't he let us come up with our own? 

To sum up all of this blathering, this novel is an easy, light, fun read that's sure to take you back to a younger, more imaginative you. I give it a 3.5 out of 5 and recommend it for about 9 year olds and up. 

What I learned: Everyone grows up (I'm still trying to reconcile myself to this fact...). However, it's not something to be dreaded, but greeted, like a friend. 

My favorite quote: "To die will be an awfully big adventure." 

*What about you? Have you read this book before? What are your thoughts on interactive narrators? 

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