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.