All Children, Except One, Grow Up {Book Club}

One Christmas, my great-grandmother gave me a Reader’s Digest collection: The World’s Best Fairy Tales. It was a thick, hefty little book. The hardback cover was glossy robin’s egg blue, and the pages had gilt edges. I thought it was beautiful, but I felt a bit old for fairy tales. (I don’t feel that way now.) I determined that I would read them anyway, and I discovered for the first time the difference between the Disney version of a fairy tale and the original. It was also the first time I preferred the written story over the movie. And when I started to critique film adaptations of books.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie is an original story, not a folk tale passed down through generations until the Grimm brothers or Hans Christian Andersen wrote it down. Still it’s subject to the same treatment in retellings. When I decided to read the novel aloud to my kids, I wasn’t expecting the Disney version. I knew better than that. But I had no clue how brutal the book really is (there are detailed reviews online if you’re curious). But, as with other books of this type, I found that my kids totally missed those details. Actually, they had trouble even following the plot, but still, the book was enjoyable because of the way it appeals to imagination. This is what I love about reading fantasy. And it’s why I was interested in reading Dust (Heirs of Neverland #1) by Kara Swanson.

I have often mentioned here how much I love fiction and why. This week, as I was reading How to Read a Book: the Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading, by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren, my feelings for fiction were totally affirmed. They state: “One reason why fiction is a human necessity is that it satisfies many unconscious as well as conscious needs. It would be important if it only touched the conscious mind, as expository writing does. But fiction is important, too, because it also touches the unconscious.”

In Dust, Claire’s missing twin, Connor, seems to have clung to the book Peter Pan simply because “fiction is a human necessity.” However, there’s an added draw to the book for him. Peter Pan is real and visited him. Claire believes it was all pretend, though she doesn’t deny that Connor had a real friend named Peter.

Things I’m wondering: The dust that forms on Claire’s skin must be related to Neverland in some way, right? She and Connor are orphans – what happened to their birth parents? Did Peter have anything to do with them being separated from their family? Who is N? Is James Hocken really Captain Hook? I’m pretty sure he is… Was there really an adoptive family in London or was it all a ruse? Did Miss Trevor conspire to deliver Connor to Hocken? What happened to her?

One of my favorite parts of the book so far has been Claire’s relocation to London. There were so many things I related to there! Regarding the long haul flight, she said, “Despite the flight taking ten hours, it’s basically a loner’s paradise.” I have taken transatlantic flights by myself a few times, I am kind of a loner, and I agree! She described landing in a new country, where she would have to learn how to live, as well as accomplish the task she went there to do. “A new country, practically a new world, filled with so many question marks that, for a moment, a lightning spike of panic shoots through me.” And finally, this gem about spending money in an unfamiliar currency: “Also, doing math for everything you buy is way less fun than it sounds.” And it does not sound very fun at all.

Join me in the comments! What questions are you hoping to find answers to in the next chapters of Dust? What do you think of Hocken, N, or Miss Trevor? Share a favorite quote or whatever struck you as interesting, relatable, or wonderful.

Here’s the reading schedule for the rest of the month:

June 8: Ch 10-18

June 15: Ch 19-28

June 22: Ch 29-38

June 29: Sabbath Week at VA so no Book Club

14 Comments

  1. Phyllis June 3, 2021

    Um, I just finished the book. I’m not usually a book gulper, and I usually follow these VA book club schedules very exactly. Not this time! I really enjoyed it.

    (And about your quote on doing math for everything you buy, another book I just read mentioned “bilingual math.” 🙂

    1. Rachel Kahindi June 4, 2021

      Awesome! I love it when a book can’t be put down. I am forcing myself to keep to the page so I don’t know too much when I write the posts.

      1. Phyllis June 6, 2021

        Now I’m reading Peter Pan. 🙂

        1. Sarah Hilkemann June 7, 2021

          Nice! I haven’t read Peter Pan (or even seen the Disney movie). 🙂 Good idea!

          1. Phyllis June 8, 2021

            I don’t think I have seen the Disney version, but my friends had something that we watched often when I was little… a Broadway version? It was very similar to the book.

  2. Phyllis June 3, 2021

    By the way, I didn’t go into the book knowing that the author is a believer (and an MK!), but I was pretty sure of it when I finished, even before I turned over to the bio. She did an excellent job of letting her faith shine through, never preaching, never beating us over the head with it.

  3. Kathleen Smith June 4, 2021

    I would love to be part of this book club! Love the reasons for fiction.

    1. Rachel Kahindi June 4, 2021

      Welcome! Jump in any time. We’re reading this book all month. Our future books (what we’ve planned so far anyway) are usually posted on the Book Club Page in case you want to plan ahead.

  4. Sarah Hilkemann June 5, 2021

    I love the similarities between what Claire experienced and overseas life/TCK life. Not quite fitting in. Adjusting to a new place and culture. I loved the “doing math for everything you buy” part too- sometimes it is a pain! 🙂 And not as fun as it sounds.

    But I also love her sister fierceness and doing what it takes to find her brother. I’m a protective big sister and hope I would be able to do the same! When she looked around her apartment for anything she could sell to get the money to go, there was that sense of overwhelm- how to get enough- but also determination. I love that Claire isn’t necessarily the typical bold and courageous heroine (although she is). I’m curious to know more of her story!

    1. Rachel Kahindi June 7, 2021

      She is such an interesting character. She has so much self-doubt about everything else, yet when it comes to her brother, she is determined that she will do whatever it takes to save him.

  5. Michelle June 6, 2021

    Well I’ve never read Peter Pan and now find myself curious. I’ve always been a fiction lover. My favorite way to spend a weekend afternoon is sitting on my porch, surrounded by trees & listening to birds, and reading an enjoyable book.
    Did anyone else watch ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”? I am afraid that that series gave me a bit of a dislike for the character of Peter Pan. The medical professional in me keeps wondering if the author had some type of history with psoriasis. 😂 i’m asking a lot of the same questions as you Rachel. Looking forward to seeing how the answers unfold. Phyllis, that’s so cool that the author is an MK.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann June 7, 2021

      Michelle, I used to watch Once Upon a Time! 😀 It was fun to try and figure out who everyone was. I didn’t finish the series though, I should try!

    2. Rachel Kahindi June 7, 2021

      I only caught a few episodes of Once Upon a Time – I would love to watch the series. I did watch every episode of Grimm, though.

      The psoriasis comment made me lol. 😂

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