Besides the dinosaur mania, as explained here and here, I had a Disney phase. Which, just like the dinosaurs, is still lingering under the surface, but nowadays I’m more interested mostly the darker versions of the movies. I just like dark stories (Also one of the reasons I loved reading ‘Trainspotting’). Anyway. The lost boy isn’t actually that dark, but more gloomy and darker than the Disney version of Peter Pan. Shamefully I must admit that it’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie and that I’m only currently reading the original novel by J.M Barrie.
The story is Peter Pan is known by pretty much everyone, I assume. A young boy doesn’t want to grow up and lives in Neverland. He has a band of young boys, called the lost boys. In this novel the origin of Captain Hook is ‘ explained’, so he doesn’t exist yet, neither do Wendy and her brothers.
Once upon a time, before the band of lost boys existed, Peter brought a boy with him to Neverland. He was the first of many, and Peters right hand. Jaime doesn’t remember anything from the ‘other place’, and takes care of the boys he and Peter pick since Peter only cares about fun and games, and himself. The pirates are boys who grew up, and on the island are massive spiders called ‘ many-eyes’.
The book begins at a point where Jaime starts to realize something is off, and he keeps referring to ‘the good days’. Personally, I’d love to see some of those good days and get to know why all the boys idolize Peter so much. Apparently, he has an amazing smile, and everybody just seems to worship him. Like I said, why exactly I don’t know, but then again, I haven’t seen the smile. Maybe it’s more of a smize?
During the course of the book, Jaime is growing up. Which is an issue, since you are not allowed to grow up when you’re with Peter and the boys who do, get either eaten by the many-eyes or banned. However, I reckon Jaime is mostly mentally growing up and therefore starting to see what Neverland really is doing to the lost boys, and what Peter has to do with that. And this is where it gets gloomy.
It’s a kids story, but I would not recommend reading this to kids. They’re quite some deaths and killing in it, and goes into the darker sides of the humankind. It’s not as bad as Christina Henry’s other fairytale retelling (I’m talking about Alice. Loved that), but it’s still considerably darker than the Disney Version. Not only are there a lot of deaths (also by the boys, who are like 8ish and kill like pro’s. That’s messed up), the story of Hook’s hook has a backstory and it’s pretty lugubrious. Here there’s a glitch between this book and the Disney movies, where Hook’s hook is replacing his left arm, but here it’s most definitely his right…Since there’s quite some emphasis on this aspect of Jaime/Hook, it’s very noticeable. But maybe it’s a Disney thing?
Currently, I’m reading Peter and Wendy, the original novel, and having just read this book really influences my view of Peter and Captain Hook in the original. Seeing that I’m not that far into the book, maybe it will change, but so far the ending of Christina’s novel gives a credible backstory for the original Captain Hook. Which is always great, since you get to know a character better. The end broke my heart, Jaime really is the character you start to feel for and as you might have guessed, it doesn’t end well for him.
Do you know any more fairy tale retellings I should read? Let me know!