Dark side of Peter Pan revealed in ‘Lost Boy’

Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Wednesday, August 02, 2017

“Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook” by Christina Henry; Berkley Publishing (304 pages, $15 paper)

According to Christina Henry, J.M. Barrie got the famous Peter Pan story all wrong.

In “Lost Boy,” Henry’s pitch-dark version of the classic tale, Peter’s onetime buddy reveals that the boy who can fly and never grows up isn’t quite the lovable scamp we’ve always believed him to be.

Jamie, Peter’s first and favorite Lost Boy, maintains that his former playmate is a liar. He accuses Peter of kidnapping naive children with promises of taking them to an island of fun and games.

But the place is hardly an adolescent paradise. True, the boys will stay young forever — but only if they avoid being killed by bloodthirsty pirates, or eaten by crocodiles or island monsters called “Many-Eyeds” or slain by fellow playmates during their savage gladiator-style battles. What fun!

All the while, Peter soaks up adoration from the boys like a charismatic cult leader and simultaneously feeds off their misery. When Jamie calls him a “monster,” he might be speaking the literal truth.

Our one grievance with “Lost Boy” (Berkley, $15) isn’t the fault of the author. It’s the spoiler that appears on the book jacket cover. Below the title are the words “The True Story of Captain Hook.”

That revelation doesn’t come until the final chapter.