The character of Peter Pan was based on James’ brother, David, who died aged 13 (so never grew up), leaving the 6 year old James having to try and fill his shoes for his mother. So it made me wonder who Hook was based on. At first i thought Hook represented the parents but having read this book i’ve totally had a change of mind.
So my thoughts on the matter are thus… I suppose the clue is in Hook’s first name, also James. The hand that gets cut off by Peter, a metaphor for the part of James’ childhood, and life, that was taken from him the day his brother died. The hand is then fed to the ticking crocodile that follows Hook around wanting to consume the rest of him because it likes the taste — so is this another metaphor concerning the inevitable ticking clock of life, and that James felt the loss of his brother was continuously haunting and wanting to consume more of him and his family?
Then there’s Wendy, which having read this book cannot be based upon anyone other than Margaret Ogilvy herself. He mentions in the book how after his brother died, other local women who lost children would come to her to talk. Again, Wendy and the lost boys — the lost boys representing the children of the other women who went to join his brother David in heaven (Neverland).
But all that aside, this book was a heartfelt view into James’ home life and very much his relationship with his mother — who he obviously cared about immensely — and is an absolute must read for all fans of J.M. Barrie’s writing. The book also covers James’ early literary career and what made him want to become a writer. So a very worth while read.
So what’s next? After 3 books in a row, i’ll be taking a literary break away from Peter Pan, Neverland and J.M. Barrie as i’ve got a load of books on ‘The Pile’ nagging to get read. But i’ll definitely be coming back to these three topics in my reading in the not too distant future.
Some more ‘Peter Pan and Neverland’ books.