Monday, June 28, 2010

Peter Pan by James Barrie

I put this story off for a long time. I've owned the book for maybe a year, but I didn't have a desire to read it until about a month ago. And to be completely honest, my interest was piqued only when my younger sister read it first and said it was one of the best books ever written...

Now, I can completely agree. It was written beautifully, the imagery was vibrant, and the humor was impossible to miss. When I finished the last page and set the book down, all I could do was sit and stare at it for a moment, amazed at how much I had been missing out on all these years.

Could you call it inspiration? Ummm...yeah. You could say that.

Now, almost anyone on the street knows who Peter Pan is, or has at least heard the name before (either that or Tinker Bell). However, a lot of people, and I think I can safely say most, don't know the real story. Either they've heard it from their parents, siblings, friends, etc., or they've watched the Disney version. Besides me, my sister and two friends, I don't know anyone who has read the original story as James Barrie wrote it. The one that lifts you up, carries you off to Neverland, and then brings you back with a deeper understanding of what it means to enjoy your life, growing up and all.

There's one thing I must say: while the Disney version is cute, and holds to the book fairly well, what you wouldn't know is that the real story, the one that James Barrie wrote, is so so so much deeper. The book holds a story a bit darker and more realistic than the average happy fairytail. There is a very mournful undertone throughout the book that is masterfully drawn out by a man who lived, to be honest, a tragic life.

I don't want to give the wrong impression: while Peter Pan isn't quite the "happy" story we all thought it was, there are a multitude of emotions running through each letter of every page: love, joy, and hope are just the beginning. Because of this, it is one of those books that musn't be merely enjoyed. It's much too beautiful. It's different from other fairytales... It is the story of a boy who wanted to never grow up, to always have fun. It has a certain quality to it that makes one believe that it could actually happen, that it actually has happened. That Peter and Tink will someday show up within the frame of your window, ready to fly away with you and have grand adventures. And yet as the story comes to a close, even though you want it to go on forever and ever, you feel an intense satisfaction and an understanding that all children must grow up.

Except one.

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