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Peter and Wendy: 05/02/22
Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie was published in 1911. In later editions the novel was published with the title, Peter Pan. In recent years the novel has inspired numerous retellings and pastiches, and I've reviewed a bunch of them.
My husband, caught up in my reading all these other books decided to re-read the source material. His observations of the book made it sound like nothing I remembered reading. Although I regularly re-read the novel as a child, the last time I read it was in 1988. Thirty-three years and a teenager's understanding of the book have left me remembering a very different kind of story.
The volume I read this time was an ebook transcript from Project Gutenberg. But the publisher who then decided to offer it up via Apple Books decided to include some added edits, mostly in the form of bracketed definitions of certain words.
Besides the weird definitions peppered throughout the book, I found there were scenes missing and scenes that I didn't remember. My overall impression was the the book was blunter and more violent than I recalled. That said, I could see now where the numerous dark interpretations I've read in the last year or so.
Curious if the scenes I misremembered were in the Peter Pan editions, I cracked open a Puffin Chalk edition from 2013. The bracketed bits were missing but the scenes I recalled were there. In particular there's a scene where Captain Hook and the pirates decide to keep Wendy:
We will seize the children and carry them to the boat: the boys we will make walk the plank, and Wendy shall be our mother. (p. 105)
Of course with a print version in hand, I was then able to find the same text in the ebook. Somehow in my re-read, even though I thought I was being careful, I completely skimmed over it!
What this experience tells me is that my confusion this time is completely on me and my hazy memory and teenage understanding of the novel vs my adult understanding. I find this revelation to be ironically on pointe.
One thing that hasn't changed over time, though, is the novel's placement on the road narrative spectrum. The travelers are still siblings (CC). They are still going to utopia (FF). The route there is still off-road (66).