Friday, January 11, 2013

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J.M. Barrie

Why did I read it? A sudden interest in the stories behind the Disney movies.

Summary: A collection of stories about the mythical world of the Kensington Gardens, including the genesis of the Peter Pan legends.

My Thoughts: There's more to J.M. Barrie than meets the eye. Now, I'm no big city psychiatrist, but if I had to guess, I'd say that he had some deep issues.

But first, Peter. No, he's not the Peter Pan you're thinking of. He was definitely Disneyized, and it's probably a good thing. This Peter Pan was a lost boy, "Betwixt-and-Between" the worlds of humans, fairies and birds, and he did have a set of pipes, but beyond that, he had some sad experiences that to me would never make it into a children's book today. And he's tiny, bigger than the fairies, but small enough to sail the ponds of Kensington Gardens in a Thrush's Nest.

The stories are mostly cutesy, dealing with those fairies and life in the Gardens after the gates are closed at night. The saddest, I believe, describes how Peter decides he wants to return home to his mother, but finds he's been replaced. Ugh. This one tale I'm going to let my sons read when they're good and ready. There's a lot of magic in Peter Pan for them right now, what with his occasional appearances on their favorite show Jake and the Neverland Pirates. They don't need to know his depressing beginnings.

I guess what's most amazing is how Disney took these tales and made what he did.

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