From Walt’s Shelf: Peter Pan

Peter Pan
By J.M. Barrie

A book that would have been seen on Walt’s shelf in the 1950’s, Peter Pan is surprisingly different from the movie with the same name.

The book starts out with a great amount of detail about the beginnings of the Darling family and the nature of Mr. and Mrs. Darling.  After that detail, the book takes much the same course as the movie, going through the nursery shenanigans and how Peter Pan enters the picture.

There is another big difference right there, Peter Pan.  In the film, he is what I would refer to as a bratty little boy.  He pouts when he doesn’t get his way and thinks of himself a lot, but otherwise, he is overall a likeable character.  Not in the book! In fact, at times I found Peter to be almost annoying! He is much cockier in the book and can act quite badly at times.  One characteristic of Peter does stay the same and that is how naïve he can be.

You learn very interesting things about the island itself and how the lost boys get along on the island with Peter.  The reader also learns where Peter and the lost boys came from and how they ended up on the island.  Even information about Tinker Bell is revealed, showing a much darker and almost vulgar side of Tink and her foul temper. When Captain Hook is described, he seems almost like an old, bitter man and a bit crazy as well.  His characteristics in the book are very much like that of the movie, even some of his dialogue is the same.

In the movie, the length of the Darling children’s stay is relatively short and is not really noticed by the parents.  In the book, the parents are well aware that their children are gone and are quite remorseful about it.  Mr. Darling himself does something quite drastic that…well, I will leave you in suspense on that one, you will have to read the book to find out what the family goes through!  You will also have to read to find out what happens in the end that is different from the movie and how the stories continue.

As far as the general composition of the book, I found the dialogue to be rather confusing.  Barrie’s style of writing can be hard to follow at times.  The narrator that tells most of the story tends to jump around a bit and also has conversations with the reader about what could or did happen.  These parts can sometimes make the book hard to follow, I had to go back and re-read a few places.  Do not let this discourage you from reading though, because the stories themselves, in between the narration, can be quite intriguing.

I really did enjoy reading Peter Pan and glad to Walt for capturing the magic found in this book and giving us a great visual to go with it! Whether on your free book applications or just getting a copy at your local bookstore, I suggest this book for those of you who would like a different and original look into Neverland. Thank you also to the Disney Driven Life Book Club for making this one of our reads! Purchase Peter Pan on Amazon by clicking the title link.

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