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Peter Pan (1911)

by J. M. Barrie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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13,256265310 (3.97)476
The adventures of the three Darling children in Never-Never Land with Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up.
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» See also 476 mentions

English (255)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (262)
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I thought this was going to be a fun and cute read. It wasn't. This was more dark and creepy that I suspected.
Still a good world, that's why is 3 stars. ( )
  Merlucito | Jul 30, 2020 |
The first time I read Peter Pan, I was seventeen and a freshman in college. I remember being charmed, enchanted. That was the period in my life where I discovered Alice in Wonderland as well, and I was enraptured by the whimsy of the story. Thirteen years later, I still understand what appealed to me. But I also have grown older and wiser and more aware, and there are a lot of cringy moments.

I want to discuss those first, because I believe it's smart to rip off the band-aid and have done with it.

As a whole, Peter Pan is racist and sexist. There's no talking around it - it's quite glaring and abhorrent. The language used to describe native peoples is inappropriate. Tiger Lily and her tribe are grossly characitured. There is nothing, absolutely nothing redeeming that can be said for the story in this respect. It is honestly awful.

As far as sexism goes, we have six female characters here. In Neverland, we have Tinkerbell and Tiger Lily. In England, there is Mrs. Darling, Liza, Nana, and of course between both worlds we have Wendy. Tiger Lily's entire role is to be rescued by Peter. Mrs. Darling, Liza, Nana, and Wendy all exist to be housekeepers and caregivers. The importance of a mother is a strong theme in this book, and while that is sweet in some ways, this book very clearly lays out that the role of the woman is to keep house and have babies. Um!? The character with the most potential of spirit and individuality is Tinkerbell, and while she has never been a favorite before, I think I have a begrudging respecter her now.

Except, of course, that all the young ladies are desperately in love with the clueless Peter Pan, and everything they do, they do for love of him. Excuse me now.

This is such a waste, because removing the problematic elements, Neverland is so wonderful. The voice in which this story is told is charming and exciting, like a story being told to you, something you can treasure close to your heart. Of course Peter Pan has captured the hearts of so many - it's easy to see, what with the wonderful possibility of a secret adventure, shared childhood memories, and also - how lovely would it be to fly? The world itself is disarmingly wonderful. Except for the racism and sexism. Oh why, oh why, J. M. Barrie. Why.

There is an addendum in the audiobook cautioning that the words in this book are not the opinions of the narrator, and are a product of the time of publication, 1906. Even Audible knows there's some sketchy sketchy nope stuff.

It's really a shame because Neverland is such a presence, and I want its magic to endure. And I think in modern retellings, it does! I'd skip the Disney adaptation, but later plays and retellings do a wonderful job taking the magic in this story, and stripping it of its harmful elements. Still, those harmful elements do exist in the source material and because of them, we need to be cautious about perpetuating the story. It's a complicated moral decision to make.

Story-wise, I really like the cyclical feel of it, the way things rotate and change so quickly, and the strange and perfect balance of roles and the blurry line between good and evil. I wasn't altogether crazy about the group dynamics, but I did like individual characters. Toodles and Smee, of course, are precious. And I really like the voice this story was told in (the narrator was good too, but I mean the writing voice in this case). Peter, or course, is the absolute worst, but I think I liked that about him too, because it made human interesting character. Seriously though - what a brat.

You will have to make your own choice about Peter Pan. On the one hand, I enjoyed the magic in this storytelling a lot. But the racism and sexism drew me out of the story, so I had a really mixed experience. The good elements are so, so good, but the bad elements are quite bad. This story is so deeply entwined in our cultural consciousness, though, that you, dear reader, probably know the magic of it without needing to read the book. ( )
  Morteana | Jul 24, 2020 |
I have found now that I am older I usually don't enjoy most middle grade books. It was interesting to see the difference between this and the Disney version but it just wasn't one that I couldn't put down. I found myself skimming through and just wanted to get it finished. They just don't hold my attention. ( )
  KeriLynneD | Jul 3, 2020 |
A classic, never read the story, did watch the TV movie but it was a fun revisit. This was an Audible original the cast did a good job, so far stars for nice job done. ( )
  Kristelh | May 28, 2020 |
No Kailyard School sentimentality about this one - the sentiment is an unashamedly Edwardian middle-class one, cosy and fairly funny, making the book probably enjoyable (for quite different reasons) by children and adults alike. ( )
  Stravaiger64 | May 9, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (388 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. M. Barrieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Attwell, Mabel LucieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bedford, Francis D.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Billone, AmyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cazenove, ChristopherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dale, JimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foreman, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geist, KenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hague, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, GregIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hudson, Gwynedd M.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hyman, Trina SchartIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingpen, RobertIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaramillo, RaquelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnstone, Anne GrahameCover illustrationsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kincaid, EricIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lurie, AlisonAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martinez, SergioIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oliver, Maria AntòniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ormerod, JanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Unwin, Nora S.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vess, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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First words
All children, except one, grow up.
"Now," said he, "shall I give you a kiss?" and she replied with a slight primness, "if you please." She made herself rather cheap by inclining her face toward him, but he merely dropped an acorn button into her hand; so she slowly returned her face to where it had been before, and said nicely that she would wear his kiss on a chain around her neck.
Mr and Mrs Darling and Nana rushed into the nursery too late. The birds were flown.
At the sight of his own blood, whose peculiar colour, you remember, was offensive to him, the sword fell from Hook's hand, and he was at Peter's mercy.

"Now!" cried all the boys, but with a magnificent gesture Peter invited his opponent to pick up his sword. Hook did so instantly, but with a tragic feeling that Peter was showing good form.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine the novel with the original play.
The original play was written by J.M. Barrie and first performed in 1904.
Peter and Wendy is the title of Barrie's 1911 novelization of it. The novel follows the play closely, but includes a final chapter not part of the original play.
The novel is now usually published under the title Peter and Wendy or simply Peter Pan.
Per WorldCat, ISBN 0805072454 is for a book by J.M. Barrie; not a video.
ISBN 1897035128 is a Blue Heron Books edition of Peter Pan.
ISBN 0689866917 is an Aladdin edition of Peter Pan.
ISBN 014086847X is a Puffin edition of Peter Pan.
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Book description
The great story of Peter and Wendy. I have in my personal collection a 1914 edition. It is a great story of retaining your childhood feelings of play and wonder of the world. It is an important story for the modern age as I think too many of us loose the heart of a child. A great read.


The classic story of the boy who never grew up, the girl who would be both his mother and partner, and all the wild imaginings of children let loose. Adventure, intrigue, pirates, roughousing, deep dark forests, magic, trouncing the adults on a regular basis, flying, fierce animals, pretty much everything is there. --wendp
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Average: (3.97)
0.5 3
1 28
1.5 9
2 109
2.5 27
3 472
3.5 86
4 771
4.5 73
5 774

Penguin Australia

6 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0670841803, 0451520882, 0141322578, 0141808411, 0141329815, 0141343281

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

An edition of this book was published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.

» Publisher information page

Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400101026, 1400108667

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

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