The story of Peter Pan has fascinated young and old audiences for over one hundred years. Many of us have aspired to fly with him to Neverland, to taste the freedom of soaring over life’s worrying details. Others sense that there is a dark side to the story but don’t quite know what to do with it. The author, James Mathew Barrie, defines Peter Pan as ‘gay, innocent and heartless’.
In Peter Pan, the Lost Child, psychoanalyst Kathleen Kelley-Lainé explores Peter Pan’s light-hearted escapades and uncovers a sad, lost child behind the ‘baby tooth’ smile. She uses the story as a framework for the stories of her patients to show how their own Peter Pan manifests, giving a unique insight into how childhood events can block growth into adulthood. She also investigates the sinister side of author James Mathew Barrie as it relates to his Peter Pan tale, and addresses her own family history and its links to The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up. Little by little, as the book progresses, Kelley-Lainé’s lost childhood emerges as a child who fled with her family from war-torn Hungary after the Second World War to the ‘promised land’ of Canada.
These three interwoven storylines take the reader on a literary journey to uncover secrets and hidden emotions. Kelley-Lainé makes clear that the child who cannot grow up, the Peter Pan raging inside the adult, needs to be heard and understood. Only then can that lost child have a chance to find the road to maturity.