Hello lovely readers!
Now, for those of you who may not know (probably most of you, honestly), I absolutely adore the story of Peter Pan. I’ve loved it since I was a small child, and that love has only grown stronger as I, sadly, have grown up. One of the things I never did, though, was read anything else by that extraordinary purveyor of magical journeys, J.M. Barrie.
My sister was actually the one to bring this book to my attention. The Little White Bird; Or, Adventures in Kensington Gardens actually contains the story whence sprung the fully-fledged legend of Peter Pan. It also explains about the goat, which is something I had honestly wondered about.
While there are several short works within this book that deal with Peter Pan, in fact he is more of an aside that the true focus of the book. This is one of the stranger works that I have read lately, and is entirely to do with the way the book is written. It reads like the journal of a middle-aged gentleman of the mid-twentieth century, and how he goes about engaging the interest and, eventually, the love of a little boy named David, the son of nearby neighbours. It is also, incredibly subtly, about heartbreak. It engages the reader with an almost stream-of-consciousness style, leading me to both bemoan certain actions of the gentleman in question, and giggle at others. This book is written nothing at all like Peter Pan, and I enjoyed it for all that I found it confusing at times.
I will admit to now having an overwhelming desire to return to the Kensington Gardens, to visit once more the statue of Peter Pan and to explore the paths taken by young David, his nurse Irene, and the gentleman who wrote the journal. One of the greatest things about Barrie’s writing is that incredible ability to induce in the reader the wonder of childhood, no matter their true age. This is a gift that more people should accept and appreciate, for in the modern age the wonder and magic of childhood recedes too swiftly in the face of technology and adulthood.
Strange, but good. You should give it a go; at 100 pages, it won’t take long!
Image credits: both taken by me. The main image is of the book being reviewed, while the inset image is an illustration from the Norton hardcover Centennial edition of Peter Pan, which is stunningly beautiful.