Mittwoch, 2. August 2017

[Thoughts on books] Christina Henry - Lost Boy

There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. Once I loved a boy called Peter Pan. Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter's idea of fun is sharper than a pirate's sword. He wants always to be that shining sun that we all revolve around. He'll do anything to be that sun. Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever. Peter will say I'm a villain, that I wronged him, that I never was his friend. Peter Lies ...

As a child I never really was affeted by Peter Pan. I knew the Disney movie thanks to a "book to the film", I watched and loved very much Steven Spielberg's "Hook" and Iwas familiar with the key points of the story. When I was older I learned about the story behind "Peter Pan" and was interested in that psychological Peter Pan phenomen, but I was about 26 when I read the real "Peter Pan" by J.M.Barrie for the first time. Or rather, I read a "children version" shortening out a few things from the original volume. And I have to confess: I did not really like it. I didn't get that Peter, he was no hero for me but a very annoying and rather stupid boy of whom I often silently thought: "Oh come on, grow up!" Ummm, yes, point taken ...A few years ago I bought in a bargain store "The Child Thief" because it looked interesting and I was fascinated when I read in the foreword that it was a variation of "Peter Pan" based on the few sentences that would be most often cut of the children volumes. The sentences dealing ith the fact that Peter, the cutie, would find ways to get rid of Lost Boys now and then. Since then I became more and more fascinated by that fact and I have to say, if there is a fantasy genre I really enjoy it is what I call "dark Peter stories". And so it was not a big surprise that I bought this book when I found it at the local bookstore :-)

The story is told from the view of Jamie, one of Peters oldest and best friends in Neverland. It is a very easy read, Jamie is not a friend of huge words or long sentences but a rather straight forward character. I was a bit irritated in the beginning by the flashbacks coming up now and then because here the narrator's voice all of a sudden and unexpectadly changes. But more than the general story I really loved how he and Peter - actually the only really developed characters in the novel - are presented.

Jamie had been so long on the island that he hardly remembers how much time has passed and he just sees it in the number of boys being replaced now and then, and the amount of pirates he has killed over the years. But all of a sudden this idyllic life changes when Jamie develops a feeling of responsibility towards the Lost Boys, especialle five year old Charlie who was among the last boys jining Peter on his life of adventures. And Peter doesn't like that at all, you can say. The more Jamie finds himself in the role of a parent, the more Peter becomes cruel. A very subtle cruelity in the beginning, and believe me, as a mother it was very hard reading the first chapters while your own baby sleeps right next to you. It is obvious that there is more behind Peter than he shows the Lost Boys, and Jamie who starts also grow up physically and not just emotionally seems to be the only one who is able to see that. But, and here I am quite happy, Christina Henry doesn't portray Peter just as the cruel child thief as Brom in his really great novel does. This Peter here is actually suffering from the fact that he never can do what Jamie is doing: growing up. Peter tries everything to make things stay as they are, he is desperate about not losing his best friend who bit by bit grows out of this whole "eternal adventure and fun" thing. This cruelity is based on the desperation of a five year old, and even when my baby is still too young I am already aware of the time he will also show from time to time this behaviour when he finds out that there are things in life he can't change or he has to accept. That growing age gap between Peter and Jamie is the base in the book and the main reason why I woudl recommend it. Besides, it is really, really good ;-)

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