This is a book that most unfortunately I have only read in adulthood.
It is simply written with beautiful simplicity packed with original and creative characters and storylines which have affected every one of us. It speaks directly to children through the voice of magic and often addresses them directly as the reader actively drawing them into the book.
Like most children’s books that have stood the test of time it deals with issues of the adult world that children often find themselves in the midst of. I think that’s where this book holds its secret as it allow children to confront and deal with them in an abstract manner without the confrontation and failing input of the grown ups around them.
Everyone can remember that reluctance to grow up and the uncertainty of what might lie ahead and who you may become, but few are able to put it so eloquently, poetically but massively accessibly into words.
This material for this book was always rambling around in J. M. Barrie’s head. Based on the loss of his idolised brother as a child and the crushing effects it impressed on him and his family. Barrie was able to draw on real relationships with people he knew and his own and others experiences and weave them together seamlessly into a dense blanket of fantasy. Many have suggested this is where he really lived and how he saw the world.
As an adult reading you can feel his pain and concern for all children dealing with loss and faced with responsibilities they are not yet ready for.
Each character has their own battle to face in the book and trial to overcome. Yet the tone is never downbeat or hopeless and the magical element always offers a light, a way out guiding the cast through to maturity.