Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry

You may think you know the true story of Peter Pan, but you must remember that above all, he lies. Peter Pan, the eternally young boy, didn't always have lost boys to play with. Jamie is Peter's favorite lost boy and the very first that he spirits away from the Other Place. As time goes on, Peter lures more and more boys to Neverland with promises of no rules, plentiful food, and fun. The reality isn't as nice with monsters lurking in the dark, lethal pirates, and disease. Jamie starts to realize the truth about Peter Pan after years of blindly following him.

Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook is a reimagining of the Peter Pan tale with a harsh edge of reality. Peter Pan is the funloving eternally young boy, but he also has the negative aspects of a child as well. He lies to garner support and cover his horrible actions, not really caring who he hurts. He embodies the callousn and selfish nature of children who simply can't understand another's experience. For instance, lost boys die occasionally and Peter simply goes to the Other Place to get another without a second thought. This is one of a great many examples and it feels accurate on a bigger scale. The island itself is full of dangers. Creatures called the many eyed keep expanding their territory and eat children they encounter. Crocodiles or mermaids or pirates can lead to a swift death. Even disease can cause death. Multiple children have died from infection or some sort of contagion with no medical supplies or treatment available. Neverland is a lot less idyllic here.

Jamie, the very first lost boy, is a pillar of his community, reasonable, sensitive, and loyal. For years, he has seen others come and go. He knows Peter's moods, rules, and manipulations. Through it all, he's the one who takes care of the lost boys, whether it's cheering them up, tending their wounds, stopping fights, teaching them how to survive, and burying their bodies if they don't. Magically lengthy youth doesn't mean immortality for all. Peter is too busy having fun to do any of this and doesn't really care what happens to them. At first, Jamie admires Peter and feels special to be chosen. Over time, he becomes disillusioned and realizes how monstrous Peter can be. I felt Jamie's frustration at Peter's selfish behavior and disregard for consequences, especially regarding a new lost boy who just wanted to bully others and the boy he took too young to take care of himself. The inevitable ending is tragic and went a different way than I expected.

Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook is a takes a dark fantasy version of Peter Pan. I had a couple problems with it. The only girl in the novel dies to give Jamie further angst. If this was supposed to be a horror reimagining, I expected a little more darkness and blood. I also didn't really like the many eyed creatures and found that it didn't really mesh with the rest of Neverland. Other than that, this is a decent retelling with some fun twists and turns.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

No comments: