When I first read that this was the official sequel to Peter Pan, my reaction was to shudder while a long suppressed memory of another sequel came running back. That of Scarlet, the horrifying sequel to Gone with the Wind. If they managed to turn Scarlet into a wimpy woman who *gasps* redeemed herself, I worried at what they would do to my beloved Peter Pan.
Peter Pan , the original book, is not a children’s book. In my must humble opinion, of course. It is a dark, terrible story of mothers that lose children, of Lost Boys that have to make do with their wonderful creativity while at the same time facing incredibly violent and dangerous situations in Neverland. Of course, they do so fearlessly, even having fun, with their quests and their games , no one more than the Boy that would never grow up, the cocky , ruthless, Peter Pan himself.
So, I got the book and I was very wary. But right from the first pages, I could see I had something special in my hands. For Gerladine McCaughrean managed to capture the very essence of what Barrie wrote those many years ago, and write a sequel that I am sure the man himself would be proud of . All of a sudden Peter, Wendy, the Lost Boys and Neverland where back to life again:
Cok – a – doodle- doo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This book starts twenty years or so after the end of Peter Pan, in London. The Lost Boys who had all been adopted by Wendy Darling’s family are all Old Boys, married with children, living respectful lives. Until they start to dream of Neverland and the dreams are terrible and they suspect something is not right. They find a very clever way to go back, only to find out that Neverland has changed. It is no longer the land of endless summer, autumn has settled in and the place is in shades of red. Peter Pan’s clothes, once made of green leaves, now are adapted to the current season – hence, Peter Pan in Scarlet. But as soon as they arrive, all the memories of their adult lives are left behind – because we know memories are one of the major causes of growing –up –ness and growing up is forbidden in Neverland.
The reunion of old friends is sweet and they set out to play their games, and to begin with, they are oblivious to the fact that something is very wrong indeed: not only the season is completely wrong for Neverland, the mermaids are all dead, the fairies are nowhere to be seen and even though Mothers lose their children all the time, there are no new Lost Boys in sight. They set out in a quest to find a treasure buried by Captain Hook and the farther they go into the land, the closer they are to danger and ultimately the fate of Neverland itself and of the Marvellous Boy hang on the balance. Will they be able to save them? Will they ever be able to go back to their own lives? Is Captain Hook really dead by crocodile eating? Whatever happened to Tinker Bell?
As I closed the last page after an incredible Afterthought , I was awed at the extraordinaire feat of bringing these characters and this world back to life in such a believable and clever way. Even though I sustain that this is not a children’s book, that Neverland is a dangerous place to be, the child in me, rebel against all this growing up business and can not help but to dream that one way it would hear the words:
“Second to the right and straight on till morning”!
Notable quotes/Parts: I loved the Maze of Witches and how it was such a sad place. And the sacrifice that Curly made in order to save Peter, that reminded me of Field of Dreams and Doc.
Additional thoughts: A lot of adaptations, movies and plays are out there but my favorite is the 2003 movie Peter Pan. I thought is was quite a faithful one and this is one of my favorite parts, when Tinker Bell is dying:
Verdict: essential for anyone who has read the first book and loves the story.
Rate: 9, damn near perfection. I want to hug the book.
Reading next: Demon Angel by Meljean Brook