Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Peter and the Starcatchers

So you're probably asking yourselves, why did a grown man read Peter and the Starcatchers? I could say that I read it so you wouldn't have to, but that would be Wrong. That would be A Lie. I read it because it was written by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry and because I had high hopes for it. Unfortunately, those hopes were pretty much dashed.

I thought the book was sort of OK at the beginning, but the more I read, the less impressed I was. For one thing, since Barry had a hand in it, I thought it would be hilarious. I was wrong. There are a few laughs and some mild amusements. That's it. And, let's face it, the writing is, well, . . . pedestrian. It doesn't have any sparkle.

Then there's the plot. Ridley Pearson came up with the idea to write a "prequel" to Peter Pan, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. But then he decided to explain everything that James Barrie left unexplained: why Peter can fly, why there are mermaids in Neverland, where Tinkerbelle came from, and so on. The bottom line here is that some things are best left unexplained, at least as far as I'm concerned. Like magician's tricks. They astound me when I see them performed, and I don't want to know how they're done. When you know that, the fun is gone. Especially when the explanation is as long-winded as it is here.

Reading this book made me realize again that not just anyone, even if he's Ridley Pearson or Dave Barry or a combination of the two, can sit down and write a magical children's book. It made me appreciate even more what J. K. Rowling has done with Harry Potter.

Peter and the Starcatchers will probably sell a gazillion copies. Pearson and Barry have at least that many fans between them. Maybe I'm wrong about the book. Maybe kids will love it. Anything that gets them to read is fine by me.


1 comment:

Aldo said...

Bill,
Thanks for saving me some money. Now I can spend it on some more pulp novels.