The Real Peter Pan by Piers Dudgeon
The Tragic Life of Michael Llewelyn Davies

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Either way, he did indeed fulfill the tragic image of the boy who would not grow old. This unsatisfying biography produces few other insights.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

The world has long been captivated by the story of Peter Pan and the countless movies, plays, musicals, and books that retell the story of Peter, Wendy, and the Lost Boys. Now, in this revealing behind-the-scenes book, author Piers Dudgeon examines the fascinating and complex relationships among Peter Pan's creator, J.M. Barrie, and the family of boys who inspired his work.

After meeting the Llewelyn Davies family in London's Kensington Garden, Barrie struck up an intense friendship with the children and their parents. The innocence of Michael, the fourth of five brothers, went on to influence the creation of Barrie's most famous character, Peter Pan. Barrie was so close to the Llewelyn Davies family that he became trustee and guardian to the boys following the deaths of their parents. Although the relationship between the boys and Barrie (and particularly between Barrie and Michael) was enduring, it was punctuated by the fiercest of tragedies. Throughout the heart-rending saga of Barrie's involvement with the Llewelyn Davies brothers, it is the figure of Michael, the most original and inspirational of their number, and yet also the one whose fate is most pitiable, that stands out.

The Real Peter Pan is a captivating true story of childhood, friendship, war, love, and regret.

 

About Piers Dudgeon

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PIERS DUDGEON is a writer, editor, and photographer. He worked for ten years as a publisher in London and then started his own company, Pilot Productions. He is the author of bestselling biographies of Catherine Cookson, Edward de Bono, the composer Sir John Tavener, and the novelists Barbara Taylor Bradford, Josephine Cox, J. M. Barrie and Daphne du Maurier.
 
Published July 12, 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books. 418 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Real Peter Pan
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Apr 13 2016

...Dudgeon explores the man and his character, his obsession with death and the afterlife, the cruel side to his writings, and the strange illusions he created around himself. A simultaneously interesting and depressing story of arrested development, as sometimes occurs with those who write of children’s heroes.

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Publishers Weekly

Below average
on May 28 2018

Either way, he did indeed fulfill the tragic image of the boy who would not grow old. This unsatisfying biography produces few other insights.

Read Full Review of The Real Peter Pan: The Tragi... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Washington Times

Above average
Reviewed by Martin Rubin on Sep 27 2016

...here in “The Real Peter Pan,” his tone is more measured and his analyses more supple throughout, all of which serve to make him more believable.

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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Kevin F Rennie on Aug 12 2016

The film “Finding Neverland” (2004) polished the patina for a new generation; a musical of the same title is currently running on Broadway. But Piers Dudgeon’s book “The Real Peter Pan” provides a timely antidote to this contemporary fantasy.

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