75 in ’13: Peter Pan

I guess little boys don't do much in the way of personal hygiene.

Nice hair.

For the eighth book in the challenge, I read Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.

So, like…Peter is kind of a jerk. And hello, sexism and racism and…man. Don’t get me freakin’ started.

The copy I read was from Project Gutenberg, so there were no illustrations, but it was free. This book is a classic, in that it really celebrates and…”nurtures” is the wrong word here, but encourages the imagination of a child to go right along with the story. The narrative was far too stuffy and grown-up and full of social commentary for my kids to really get much from it, however, so paraphrasing had to be generously applied.

The descriptions and treatment of the native peoples were really uncomfortable. How do you soften things for a kid when the whole tale is nothing but stereotypes and a little white boy lording it over them because he won’t bother to understand their language? On the other hand, the description of Hook’s internal workings was illuminating for me. The movie Hook, with Dustin Hoffman in that particular role, is more informative when it comes to his motivations but could always do with more. I was happy to find that in the original. It wasn’t all easy to understand, and had I not been somewhat familiar with the relative time period, a fair amount of the social commentary would have been completely over my head. As it is, I don’t know that I kept my head quite above water the whole time.

It’s worth a read, even if it’s hard to read.

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About crankyfacedknitter

We are a motley collection of cats, cranks, nerds, geeks, hobbyists, humorists, writers, caffeine addicts and one knitter. We have many offspring, but admittedly, most of them are imaginary.
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One Response to 75 in ’13: Peter Pan

  1. tara says:

    It has been a VERY long time since I read Peter Pan, and I don’t remember much except that I didn’t really care for it. I didn’t really like Peter, or Tinkerbell and I thought Wendy was foolish. Sap that I am, I did like the part where children believing in fairies is what saved Tink. I can’t remember anything about Captain Hook’s internal workings, so it might be worth a re-read. And the musings about mothering and children who never grow up might be more interesting to me now, reading it as a parent/supposed adult. I think I was in middle school the last time I read it. I also remember reading Alice in Wonderland around that same time and not liking most of it, either. I was a little worried that there might be something wrong with me – how can I not like these two classics? Maybe I can read it now and be mature enough to not feel defective if I still don’t like it 🙂

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