Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm HOOKed.

Forgive me, but I must post again about Hook & Jill by Andrea Jones.

I am so enjoying it. For the first time, I feel like I am reading other adventures in the Neverland. And that’s quite a great feeling to have. Since I love Barrie’s island and its inhabitants so much, it’s a joy to have them in new situations and conversations. The only other time I felt this way about a Peter Pan work is Fox’s Peter Pan & the Pirates. Although this is different — this is in writing!

It may sound odd, but what made me the happiest in the book is a very simple word: the. Yes, “the.”
It’s the (ha!) placement of this little word. You see, she noticed it. None of the others who wrote of Pan did. What the heck am I talking about? In the novel Peter and Wendy, Barrie always wrote “the Neverland.” You won’t find “Neverland” without “the” before it. And Jones follows this rule. I did as well, of course, although I allow characters to say “Neverland” without “the” in front of it. It just seemed quite awkward for an entity to say “the Neverland” all the time. It made sense to me that after the expanse betwixt-and-between Peter and Wendy and Peter Pan’s NeverWorld that it would drop out of regular speech, in the way that language evolves. Perhaps I am at fault for this slight alteration, but I did purposefully make sure the Narrator kept “the” in its proper place. So, I found myself quite pleased that Andrea would care enough to notice the quirk.

I also have to say I feel slightly bad concerning something I had told her on the evening we met. While discussing the incongruity of other Pan works, I used the example of how many times Peter Pan went back to his mother’s window/house. (He went twice.) In Hook & Jill, she also writes of it being only once. However - it is also not, in this case, considerable for a contradiction of Barrie. Why? Well, it goes back to the Narrator. In the work I cited to her, the Narrator is the one who insists Pan only went once. But Andrea has Peter say so. What’s the difference? A great deal of difference. You see, Peter Pan is notorious for his bad memory. He’s also unable to discern make-believe from true for much (if not all) of what unfolds around him. But the Narrator? The Narrator knows all… or at least can be trusted to tell the truth, unlike Peter. Thus, having Pan say “once” is, in fact, still in accordance with Barrie.

In a way, but certainly not exactly or fully, it reminds me of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. This play is sort of the reverse of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It focuses on the bit characters of R & G, as well as the theatrical troupe that performs in Hamlet. When R & G enter into a Shakespeare scene, it is instead the other characters who come into R & G’s space in Stoppard's play. In this way, we can see the effect (and affect) the events of Hamlet have on “ordinary people” as well as allow for great philosophical insights. Hook & Jill is not a direct “backstage” of the Peter Pan story by any stretch. But at the same time, it does show us other events in and around the familiar ones. It refers to Barrie’s events as having happened (such as the quick rundown of the nursery I described in the last post.) Another example: We’re given many more nights in the Underground House. It’s wonderful.

I’m liking Hook & Jill so much that I think I just might be sad when this adventure veers from the original path. Not disappointed, but sad. Then again, I don’t wish to be or plan to be. It’s just that having more of the adventures of the Neverland with the Darlings, Tinker Bell, Hook & the pirates and all of Barrie’s Lost Boys still there is too damn charming and thrilling. But with any luck, Andrea’s fertile imagination will be just as engaging.

Brava, Andrea!

Pan's at Yet Another Window...
Jones-in for More

WARNING: Hook & Jill is not a novel for children, as Ms. Jones will be quick to say herself. This adventure explores the grown-up side of Barrie’s tale.


Daisy Porter said...

What do you think of the concept of the unreliable narrator? It's one of my favorite literary devices.

Peter Von Brown said...

Oh, I hope I didn't give the impression that I believe all narrators should be infallible. Just that the one in Barrie's "world" does know the facts. I can go for an unreliable narrator, too. If the story warrants it, then, sure.

Anonymous said...

This is going to sound like sycophancy, since I haven't read either work (YET), but from what I've learned so far about both, it's sounding to me like you and Andrea Jones are serving as J. M. Barrie's latter-day "heirs," filling in the gaps in the "Peter Pan saga" left open by the Bart. Certainly it's making me want to read both works (and making me anxious that there are more on the way--should I wait until the "Pan saga" is complete before reading? But when will that be?)

At any rate, I don't know if I can spot any other obvious gaps left open by Uncle Jim (which doesn't mean anything because I'm not as observant as I should be), but if there are, I hope those will be addressed as well! ^_^

Peter Von Brown said...

Oh, there's definitely another gap left by Barrie. I didn't know how to account for it until many years after my Pan study in college. I've begun the book to fill it in, but it's on the backburner right now.

Anonymous said...

I presume you mean "Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between," to fill in the gap between "Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens" and "Peter and Wendy"? Yeah, I was actually including that when I said that. ;) But thanks for the update--I did wonder. ^_^

Other than that, though, I can only think of one possible, but I don't know if too many people are interested (though I would be): Mrs. Darling. In other words, what was she doing all that time that her children were away? And maybe flash back to her own childhood and what she was like, and did she know Peter to any degree? I think that could actually work if someone were bold enough to try.

Neha Parikar said...
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