A Note on Reading on the Train

I love reading simple novels when I’m on the train. Well, here I am, reading one, but overanalysing it.

I love travelling by train. It’s fast, you don’t have to worry about the weather, and you literally can’t do anything. Apart from reading, that is. Whenever I am on the train, I make sure I bring enough to read – preferably a silly book which I can finish in one sitting and which doesn’t take too much brain power. I picked a new Peter Pan retelling: Wendy, Darling, by A. C. Wise. Will it be any good? Read on!

So, here I am, on the train, reading my book. Whenever I read a Peter Pan retelling, I make sure to buy it, since it’s my favourite book in the world. Some time ago, I wrote about a horror retelling, which I kind of liked but ultimately failed to really appeal to me. This one, according to the blurb on the back of the book, is a feminist version. This could be interesting – especially since I don’t want to think too much when I’m on the train.

The truth is, I find myself more and more incapable of not heavily analysing the books I am reading. While I could just sit back and enjoy this brand-new Peter Pan retelling and not worry about how the author incorporated all the classic elements of the story into her version, that’s exactly what I find myself doing right now (so much so, in fact, that I’m dedicating a whole blog post to the way my brain works – and I’m on the train; this is exactly what I didn’t want!).

I’m currently on page forty, and I cannot help but notice how the author refers to the classic Disney movie instead of the actual novel (or play). I wish I would like how she subtly turned Wendy into a feminist. I had really hoped I would love how she incorporated real-world events such as the Titanic or the First World War into her narrative, or showed what would happen to little girls who tell strange stories about boys who wouldn’t grow up on far-away islands (actually, putting Wendy in an asylum is quite a nice touch).

This novel is about how Wendy has grown up and has a daughter, Jane. When Peter Pan comes for Wendy and mistakenly takes the little girl thinking it’s the same girl he has always known, Wendy is desperate to bring her back. Will she be able to return to Neverland, overcome her fears, make everyone believe the stories she has been telling were all real all along? That remains to be seen.

I’m currently on page forty, and Wendy is trying to find out whether she’ll still be able to fly. And meanwhile, I’m trying to enjoy the story without thinking too much of it. There’s only two more hours until I’ve reached my destination, and I don’t want to think too much about anything. So, Elke, just enjoy the story. Just pretend that you’re Wendy, the first time she flew to Neverland, unaware of anything but going on an adventure. Just pretend you’re not a serious grown-up anymore. Let’s see if you can do that.

What do you think about Peter Pan retellings? Which books do you read on the train? Do you also tend to overanalyse even the simplest novels? Do let me know in the comments! Also, don’t forget to follow me for more book-related posts!

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