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“Peter Pan”
by J. M. Barrie
read by Christopher Cazenove
Published by Blackstone Audio
Approx. 5 hours

It’s time once again to visit a classic, this time a children’s classic, “Peter Pan.” I had thought I had read “Peter Pan” before, but I must have been wrong, or maybe read a cleaned up/Disneyfied version. I know the Disney film version was definitely made more fun for the kids and all the versions on television were fun (remember Sandy Duncan as Peter?). Don’t get me wrong, the original is the way to go and the story really should be read by all, but maybe wait until the teen years before reading this dark story about a boy that never grows up.

The gist of the story seems to always be there in the retelling of the story. Peter Pan sneaks into the Darling family home and in his hasty retreat leaves his shadow behind. Returning to retrieve the shadow he finds the shadow to not want to remain attached to Peter. Wailing in sorrow, Peter wakes Wendy, the oldest of the Darling children. Wendy proceeds to help Peter by sewing on his shadow. Peter is smitten by Wendy and tells her of Neverland where children never have to grow up. He brings Wendy back with him, despite some stern protestations from Tinker Bell, a fairy who seems to be in love with Peter. Tinker Bell becomes insanely jealous and proceeds to make Wendy’s life difficult. Wendy’s arrival at Neverland brings her to her new role in life, that as a mother the Peter’s “Lost Boys.” She makes the boys more responsible and soon falls into the role of mother and as time goes by she and her brothers begin to forget about their home.

Peter wants them to forget so they may stay forever with him. But soon Wendy breaks out of her stupor and begins to remember her life before and tries to return home, but is captured by Captain Hook, the pirate leader who is always out to kill Peter.

The darkness in the story dwells within the characters of Peter, Tinker Bell and Captain Hook. Peter is a knowing kidnapper of Wendy and the boys and will not let them escape. Tinker Bell is insanely jealous and nips at Wendy every chance she gets. Finally there’s Captain Hook, who lost his hand to a crocodile. Hook doesn’t merely want to capture the Lost Boys, he wants to kill them, and he wants to keep the young Wendy as his bride. Very dark and mature story matter here that makes revisiting the classic worthwhile.

In this audiobook version published by Blackstone Audio, the reader, Christopher Cazenove, does a smash up job creating voices for all the wily characters in the story while reading with just enough vigor to never allow the listener to get bored.

Grab this classic and be prepared to remember the fun while being surprised at some of the darker sides of the story you may have missed.

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