Book: Geraldine McCaughrean’s ‘Peter Pan in Scarlet’ – “A week old maggot burger with everything on it and flies on the side”

I must have read  J. M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy book as a child, however I recall the film ‘Hook’ far more clearly and it is a bit of a guilty pleasure!

someone called Geraldine McCaughrean won a competition held by Great Ormond Street Hospital to write an official sequel to Barrie’s work and there was a fair bit of hype at the time of publication in 2006.

Apparently I bought a copy and it ended up in the pile of stuff that I wasn’t sure that I wanted to keep. This is probably because the book paints Peter to be very very unlikeable.

peter pan in scarlet

I am aware that Peter has always been a spoilt man-child and those are jolly irritating, however McCaughrean took it to the point where there was no redemption for the character. Hook now has a rabid dislike of mothers, which is very at odds with my hazy memory of Barrie’s version.

The book was also a little dark for the mollycoddled children that friends and family have. It actually makes ‘Hook’ look very very cheerful throughout! The World War One references were interesting but felt the curious combination of underdone and forced – as if it was a good idea that the writer had used to win the contest and then forgotten about so had to cram into the book at the last minute.

Overall I couldn’t be bothered with this book; it is too vacuous for most adults, thematically not suitable for most children and teenagers just wouldn’t bother. Which leads me to conclude that this book was published as cash cow by a hospital that I’m assured does vital work but does seem to feature in some really disturbing incidents – for example glue injected into the brain and feeding tube failure.

But I have a happy ending for this book – off to the charity shop!

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2 thoughts on “Book: Geraldine McCaughrean’s ‘Peter Pan in Scarlet’ – “A week old maggot burger with everything on it and flies on the side”

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