Prior to reading Lost Boy by Christina Henry, I would have turned my nose up at the thought of reading one of my favourite fairy tales, retold with a darker twist.
Favourite fairy tales for me are precious things, which I store in glass cases at the back of my mind. Occasionally I open up their cases and recall sitting by my bedroom window, waiting for fairy tale characters, like Peter Pan, to show up. My heart would be beating with excitement at the thought of being whisked away to his island, free from grown ups and rules, for wonderful adventures. Up until I read this book fairy tales were things which should be preserved.
Before I read this book I had become hooked on reading light-hearted romance stories and had no desires for reading something darker.
So there I was browsing around Waterstones a week ago, reluctant to see my childhood fairy tales from a different perspective and glued to sweet romance, when I spotted the cover to this book. Before I could think about what I was doing, the book was in my hands and I was reading the blurb. Everything about it screamed, ‘not my kind of book’ but a little voice deep inside of me whispered, ‘live dangerously, buy it!’
I would like to say that I am glad I listened to the little voice.
‘There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. Once I loved a boy called Peter Pan.’
At a high level this wonderful book is about the slow and painful breakdown of a friendship. It is about discovering someone’s true identity and realising that they never deserved your love and affection. If you haven’t experienced this heart wrenching situation yet in your life yet you need to upgrade your ‘life suffering’ package. This is an unforgettable life experience.
The book is written from the perspective of a boy named Jamie, who befriended Peter Pan and for a long time was his only friend on the island.
And then Peter Pan betrayed him.
All the boys worship Peter, he always gets what he wants and when he doesn’t get what he wants he becomes manipulative and nasty. He is classic sociopath material.
Jamie is different to Peter. He is calm, sensitive and becomes the protector of the other boys. Over the course of the book Jamie discovers some horrifying truths about Peter, one of them being the real reason Peter brings young boys to his island. He does it for his own pure enjoyment and not for friendship. Boys are encouraged to take part in violent battles which he observes and if the worst happens, it doesn’t matter because they are replaceable.
‘Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever. Peter will say I am a villain, that I wronged him, that I never was his friend.
This story is violent and shocking. I was reminded of Lord of the Flies where children run wild and exist in a world with no order or rules. To my surprise I enjoyed the darker side to this book and found myself craving more. Gasp! I am also experiencing urges to go darker with my writing but that is another blog post.
There is also a tender side to this novel. I thought Jamie’s love and care of the little boy Charlie was beautifully crafted.
I don’t want to spoil it for readers but the ending is nail-biting and Jamie’s transformation is brilliant.
This book is fab. It is cleverly written and difficult to put down. If you fancy reading a different take on a classic fairy tale I strongly urge you to read this.
Moral of this blog tale is – listen to the little voice inside of you, in bookshops, urging you to read something different.
Christina Henry’s book can be found here.
All my book reviews can be found here.