Yes, I do. My American Lit teacher gave me some notes on last semester's paper (which I wrote in one night and earned a B- on, which I totally deserved. It was crap.) I'm kicking myself, but there's only so long you can kick yourself before your foot gets tired. So, suffice it to say, I'm going to try to be much more to the point and economical with my writing from here on out - in other words, let's cut out the B.S. and say exactly what we mean. No more shilly-shallying.
There's something I want to address that has come to my attention lately. And that is - what is with all these Peter Pan sequels? Why don't people understand something so perfect as Peter Pan?
Now, L has been kind enough to let me borrow two of her Peter Pan prequels, Peter and the Starcatchers (PSC) and Captain Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth (CH:ANY). I also recently read the 'official' and authorized sequel to Barrie's Peter Pan (like it needs one), Peter Pan in Scarlet (PPS). Well, alright. They're all pretty fun reads. And creative. My goodness - 10points for creativity. But.
The only adaptation of Barrie's original Peter Pan that comes close to capturing the spirit and the heart of it is the 2003 film 'Peter Pan' - it is absolutely wonderful. Peter is Peter and Hook is Hook. This is the thing that is missing from these other adaptations (except maybe PPS.) It's the characters that make 'Peter Pan' work, because they have so much truth in them, and so does the book.
The problem is that a lot of the sequel, and especially the prequel, writers want to give Peter, Hook, and Wendy horrible childhoods (or early childhoods), and twisted adventures, or, in the case of Hook, truly sadistic personalities. I suppose they do this in order to reinvent the characters, to make them dark and tragic, or to explain why Hook is a sadistic monster and why Peter is an egotistical thrill-seeker. But the real Pan and Hook don't need these explanations. Barrie's Pan is stronger and truer and tougher than any of these tortured children with neglectful parents and abusive nannies, or school bullies and slave masters. They have moments of doubt and fright. Peter is never afraid. Neither is Hook. Teenage romances and 'why doesn't mommy love me' are not issues for them. (And even though 'Peter Pan' (2003) includes these it does it in the subtle way that Barrie's original work includes them. Those elements are there - they just aren't in thrown in our faces.)
When I read these new adventures, I'm very into them, but I find myself thinking, 'the real Peter would have already stolen the trunk, the real Hook would have already found a ship without all this fuss, or the real Wendy would be far too sensible to do that sort of thing.' I can't help it, because it's true. Maybe all these new writers are trying to make Peter their Peter, but I like things to be as they are. And Peter is Peter, no matter who or what you want him to be. That's why he's Peter Pan.
But I still like reading about him in other books.