Peter PanPeter Pan
Year: 1911
Author: J.M. Barrie
Length: 302 minutes / 5.03 hours

I didn’t grow up with Peter Pan as a child. The fact that I’m reviewing this book when I’m 34 merely highlights this oversight. I didn’t even get into this story through the animated Disney version. Again, another oversight. About the only reason I know anything about Peter Pan is through the 1991 movie Hook—which I remember quite fondly. At this point, finally getting around to reading the source material was refreshing even if I already picked up most of the pop culture references this book inspired.

While I didn’t grow up with Peter Pan, I can see its merit. I’ll probably even read it to my daughter when she’s old enough to understand it. What’s perhaps the most notable quality of this book is how its randomness almost makes sense. Do you know how kids make stuff up but have a logical sense about their creations? Well, Peter Pan has plenty of elements that seem random but somehow work to build a coherent and cohesive narrative. I’m almost more surprised how close Hook and the Disney adaptation held to the source material. The fact that the ideas presented in Peter Pan are so unique and have yet to be fully replicated in any other story says something about its timeless quality.

That’s not to say that Peter Pan is perfect—even if it gets close. Sure, it’s charming, but it also hasn’t aged too well either (which is also present in the Disney adaptation). 100+ years after this book was written, the world is a different place. These small qualms can be glossed over fairly easily if a parent wants to do a little censorship when reading to their child (they don’t necessarily add to the plot).

A unique and creatively random children’s story that just works, I give Peter Pan 4.0 stars out of 5.

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