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Audiobook – Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

>> Friday, January 18, 2008

Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 2007
Read by: Jim Dale

This all started because I heard about a series of prequels to Peter Pan written jointly by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Having heard that the audio versions of those were good, I decided that should probably read Peter Pan itself. Yes – that’s right - I never read Peter Pan. Frankly I can’t remember seeing the Disney movie either. I do vaguely remember seeing a black and white television version of the Mary Martin stage production way back when I was a child (shortly after the earth cooled). I also vaguely remember that I was somewhat of a rebel child and refused to clap for Tinkerbell.

So anyway – I got the audio version of Peter Pan from the library and loaded it onto my ipod for some car listening. I’d heard from friends that Jim Dale is a great audio book reader, but I’d never listened to a book he’d read until now. Wow – he is great. I’m glad that the Barry/Pearson books are read by him.

Oh, right – this is about Peter Pan. As I listened to this book I recalled bits and pieces as I heard them, but this is the first time I can say I actually ‘read’ (listened to) the book as a whole. It was much darker than I’d expected. Lots of killing. Lots and lots of killing. I’m not sure I’d read this to a child. As an adult, however it was kind of a fun adventure. I was a bit surprised to find that I didn’t like the character of Peter Pan that much. He’s not very nice. Tinkerbell’s jealousy and brattiness kind of amused me and I think I liked her better as an adult than I did as a kid – she kind of tells it like it is to Peter when other characters can’t or wont.

I think for me this book was similar to some of the Disney/Pixar movies that have come out in recent years. You know the ones – you sit in the theater and sometimes all the kids and none of the adults are laughing and in a few minutes that is reversed. Parts of Peter Pan seem to be written for and appeal to the kids and other parts are written for and appeal to adults. Some of the asides (particularly as read in the audio version) made me laugh out loud, but would probably not be funny to a younger audience.

All in all I’m glad I read this and I’m looking forward to listening to Peter and the Starcatchers, but I ended up coming away with mixed feelings about Peter Pan. I enjoyed the adventure, but didn’t enjoy parts of the story.


Amy 1/18/2008 7:34 PM  

Nice review. I never really cared for Peter either.

Maw Books 1/19/2008 1:04 PM  

The audio book of Peter Pan by Jim Dale has been on my wish list FOREVER! I can't wait until I actually get it, I love Jim Dale. I would like to listen to this story just because he narrates it!

Vickie 1/19/2008 6:45 PM  

Thank you for this review. I love Jim Dale's narration of the Harry Potter series, so I want to listen to this now. Interesting that Peter Pan is getting this re-birth...

Framed 1/19/2008 8:11 PM  

This book is on my list for the Decades Challenge. I've never read it either. It doesn't sound much like the Disney version. I really need to listen to more books.

hopeinbrazil 1/20/2008 8:04 AM  

I've noticed that British heroines and heroes can be quite snippy by American standards. Take the original Mary Poppins for example who was sugar-coated for the Disney film. I avoided Peter Pan for years because someone told me that his parents locked the window so that he could never come home again. I found it later that that was only Peter's own misconception. The story is really about motherhood. All the uncivilized behavior is for want of a mother. Even the pirates want a mother, for Pete's sake! From that angle there is really a lot to enjoy in this book. The descriptions of the children's mother are lovely. Oh, that hidden kiss!

SuziQoregon 1/20/2008 9:06 AM  

Amy: He definitely has his issues, but so did Barrie.

Natasha: thanks for stopping by - I really like your blog and have added it to my Google Reader list. Jim Dale is wonderful!

Vickie: It's a fun listen.

Framed: I don't really remember the Disney version, but from what I do know, it's quite different. Try this audio version - it's a good option for this one.

Hope: It's absolutely ALL about motherhood - Barrie definitely had his own mother issues.

Booklogged 1/20/2008 3:50 PM  

I read this a couple years ago. It left me feeling a bit uneasy, but I couldn't quite identify why.

SuziQoregon 1/20/2008 4:15 PM  

Booklogged: I can definitely understand that - Like I said, I'm not sure I'd read this to a child.

Jeane 1/23/2008 7:33 AM  

I really enjoyed the Barrie's Peter Pan. There's another book he wrote featuring Peter before he joined up with the Lost Boys on the island, called The Little White Bird. I like that one even more. It tells where Peter came from.

SuziQoregon 1/23/2008 7:30 PM  

Jeane: I hadn't heard of that one, might have to check it out.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

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