Johannah wrote to me from college to tell me I must read Peter Pan. Then she wrote again later to tell me that the first five chapters are genius but after that it gets a bit racist. Still when Johannah calls writing genius, I listen. She’s a great reader, better than I am.
So I followed her link to the online version and began reading today any time I needed a break from SAT/ACT essays (which was often, I confess). Then I had to keep interrupting Jon from his work because I was laughing so hard, I felt guilty unless I involved another party.
Tonight as I closed up shop online, I took another quick peek at the first chapter (couldn’t resist) and read the following. Instantly I thought of you all.
Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children’s minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can’t) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on.
Good night, good mothers.
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Johannah’s right – the original Peter Pan is genius, and the Disney cartoon lost most of that genius in the translation. I’m pretty sure I enjoyed the book more than my children when I read it to them, but even they were surprised by (being Disney animation veterans).