Books, Fiction

Disappointed Peter (Pan)

18 June 2005

image I barely finished Peter Pan. The reader of my diary will remember that I was very excited about the first couple of pages of B. F. Berrie’s famous children’s story. The last few pages again were excellent. But in between lay for the adult reader one hundred forty painfully boring pages.  Even as a child I found it was silly when adults spoke in baby talk.  Those who engage in baby talk think it resembles the level of simplicity in the speech of young children although no child ever talks that way. What is so captivating about the Wizard of Oz is that it truly can capture the interest both of child and adult alike. B. F. Berrie, by contrast, writes a lot of baby talk that gets very tiring. Berrie also commits an atrocious crime against adult sensibility: he fundamentally misrepresents what adult life is about to make his young readers feel very special.

A the end of the book Berrie suggests that every adult person becomes a bore. They only way to avoid this would do to follow Peter Pan and never grow up. While it is true that many adults seem to lose the curiosity of childhood this is clearly not universally true (see my entry Experiencing an Epiphany).  Adulthood is fantastic precisely because it offers the choice to be a child yet live independently. Yes, full-time childhood has its pleasures because everyday seems so new. But if given the choice would any adult (with the exception of Michael Jackson perhaps) seriously want to become a child again?

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Peter

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