Forever Neverland by Heather Killough-Walden

This book picks up where Peter Pan ends.  The Darling children have returned to their home, but all is not well.  While they know that they went on an amazing adventure, in the eyes of their parents, they were abducted.  Now going through endless psychiatrist visits, Wendy’s stories are seen as just another coping mechanism and the three children are having trouble holding on to the experience they had in Neverland.  Unbeknownst to them, Peter has been trapped in the real world, as well, and has aged 5 years.  He is a boy no longer.  When Hook’s ship appears once again, it could be the passage back to Neverland they’ve all been looking for.

I like to look at the bargain books that are offered through Barnes and Noble with the hope that there will be a gem for .99.  The plot of this book intrigued me.  Set in the present, this story begins five year after the Darling children are returned to their English nursery after being in Neverland.  Their parents take them to the US for better psychiatric care and everyone has trouble adjusting, to say the least.  When Peter Pan finally figures out he is trapped in the real world because of his promise to help the Darling children, he finds that Wendy is none to pleased with him or how her life has unraveled.  When a sympathetically written Hook comes into the picture, it seems that old conflicts are reignited.

The idea of this book was very interesting, which is why I ponied up the $1 to buy it, but in the end the writing did not come through.  The book took some very interesting turns, such as learning more about Hook’s history, but just as you thought it would follow a plot line, the story veered and you were left wondering what happened.  It seemed very incomplete and perhaps a little too contrived.  There’s always danger in trying to take a character that was written so skillfully by someone else and continuing its life.  I’ve seen it fall flat in countless Pride & Prejudice sequels.  J.M. Barrie was thought to have come up with the idea of Peter when his own brother died the day before he would have turned 14.  The original idea behind Peter’s character was meant to be comforting; there is a place where Pan will always be young and happy.  I would like to think that these types of sequels can be done well in the right hands, but this book just doesn’t succeed.  Knowing Barrie’s intentions, a grown up Peter Pan and a humanized Captain Hook feels uncomfortable, somehow.  Unfortunately, I think Peter was better off staying in Neverland.


Kate @ Ex Libris


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