Welcome to the Friday Review, a series of posts in which I explore books, movies, music, etc. which I have recently experienced and review them. This week, Peter Pan and “Hello Hurricane”.
Peter and Wendy
by J. M. Barrie
Public Domain (1911)
While this book has been in publication for 113 years, I encountered it for the first time this Christmas. Being so old, it is out of copyright, and therefore there exists a free Kindle version. Free books are great, but how does it live up to its legacy of movie adaptations?
Quite well, it turns out. According to my research (a.k.a. Wikipedia) the story was originally a play, which Barrie then adapted into a novel.¹ I couldn’t tell. It didn’t feel artificial or simplistic, although it does fall roughly into the fairy tale genre. However, as this book as well as the works of C. S. Lewis prove, fairy tales do not have to be simplistic by definition. Some of the literary devices are absolutely clever, such as Peter’s shadow falling off and having to be sewn on again. It seems elementary, but such things often do once they happen. The genius is in inventing them. Take coffee, for example. Whose idea was it to take these seeds, crush them up, and pour boiling water over them?
I digress. The story itself is fast-paced and enjoyable. It is short, and not hard to read. Again, though, it’s not childish. There are passages which merit some serious pondering, and the characters are far from superficial. Nevertheless, children could certainly read it, since the story is easy to follow and not too wordy. Do keep in mind, though, this is a fairy tale. Don’t expect the ending to be a spectacular surprise. It ends happily, although with a note of melancholy at Peter and Wendy’s final conversation that once again keeps it unique.
In all, the book lives up to its legacy. It’s a quick read, so I definitely recommend it if you’ve never read it.
Peter and Wendy
lowercase people records/Atlantic (2009)
In search of some Jars of Clay one day, I stumbled across this group listed as a similar artist. I all but forgot about it until I encountered this CD at my local library. Like a good opportunist, I checked it out on the spot.
I’m glad I did. I’m considering purchasing the album, or at least a few of my favorite songs. Are they similar to Jars of Clay? Yes, I lot of the things I liked about this CD are things I also admire about Jars. Number one, the lyrics. I like lyrics that make me think. Lyrics that aren’t so commonplace, that have a lot of metaphor in them. On that front, this CD delivers, though once or twice during the album, I really couldn’t have told you what the heck they were singing about.
It is rock music, and while it’s a bit heavier rock than Jars of Clay usually is, I only disliked two of the tracks for that reason. Also in comparison to Jars are the Christian references, although they are even more shadowed and subtle than in Jars of Clay’s music. In fact Wikipedia classifies them as an alternative rock band, not Christian rock.² However, this album did win a Grammy award for Best Rock Gospel Album of 2011. Come on, “Everything I have I count as loss.” is straight from Phillipians 3:8.
I think this is one thing I love about both these bands. While there is a place for the worship songs invoking the name of Jesus, this music is more about the life we live as Christians. It’s about our reactions to our own failings, as in “Mess of Me”, or in tragedy, as in “Enough to Let Me Go”. When we encounter these things in our daily life, we react to them through the lens of our faith.
And if I feel like something a little more mainstream, I’ll get on YouTube and find some Casting Crowns to listen to. 😉
Some of the songs feel a little repetitive, and two of them I’m just not fond of, but I really enjoyed this CD and will not be turning it back in until I’ve renewed it as many times as I can.
1. Peter and Wendy – Wikipedia
2. Switchfoot – Wikipedia