Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
Genre: Fiction, Childrens, Young Adult
Summary: Peter Pan is a classic story symbolizing every child’s battle between wanting to grow up and wanting to stay young forever. Wendy follows Peter to Never Never Land where The Lost Boys stay young forever and spend their days fighting pirates, playing with mermaids, and yearning for a mother figure. In the end Wendy returns home to London to grow up, but never forgets Peter.
Literary Destination: Kensington Garden, London, England
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“Do you really think that looks like me?” I stared up at the statue I had come so far, and waited for so long, to see in person and held my iPhone to my ear. Peter Pan’s voice continued, but I was no longer listening. I couldn’t help agreeing with his own assessment. He didn’t look as I’d imagined. I couldn’t, however, imagine a more perfect spot to find The Lost Boy.
Perhaps it was the child in me yearning to fly off to Never Never Land and stay young forever, but ever since my Dad read the book to me before I was old enough to read chapter books to myself, I longed to see the statue of Peter Pan. Now that I was here, I was conflicted. The statue perfectly captures the essence of childhood innocence and play, but I was surprised that the child depicted by the statue looked so young. I was too old to fly away with this youngster. Sadly, my feet stayed rooted to the ground. Putting imagination aside, I turned my attention to the QR code sign hanging on the gate in front of the statue. Using my iPhone to scan the code, I found it took me to a website with a button which, when pressed, began to play a recording of Peter Pan speaking. According to the site, this statue is part of a project to animate 35 statues across London and Manchester for a year.
While listening to the recording I turned away from the statue to look at the surroundings. We had entered Kensington Gardens near the Italian Garden. This was a commission of love by King Albert for his queen, Victoria. The garden of fountains, white stone statues, and benches for peaceful repose was too attractive to pass by without stopping for a few moments. Just past this we came to the body known as Long Water, where ducks happily paddle by and benches provide the perfect place to sit and write. The statue stands beside Long Water. J. M. Barrie chose this location for the statue within the park because he used to sit and write in the garden. Being too old to imagine myself flying towards Never Never Land with Peter, I instead put myself in the writer’s shoes. I could see why he liked this spot.
When the voice in my ear stopped speaking I put away the phone. Although having matured since the reading of the book, I was quite happy to have finally visited this boy that won’t grow up and to know that here at this spot is a reminder to remain young at heart.
Peter Pan Statue Website with short background note and map to statue location.
Bloomsbury Neighborhood: J. M. Barrie’s residence site, Great Ormand Hospital Peter Pan and Tinkerbell Statue
Have you visited the Peter Pan statue? Did he look like you’d imagined? Who and where is your favorite literary character or author statue? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
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