“All children except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up …this is the beginning of the end.” The first paragraph of James Barrie’s classic story, Peter Pan, introduced its central theme. It sounds innocent, but a look at Barrie’s life gives it a more sinister twist.
“All of James Barrie’s life led up to the creation of Peter Pan,” wrote one of his biographers.
A pivotal point came in 1866 when Barrie, the youngest in a Scottish family of ten children, was six: his brother David, the pride of the family, died in a skating accident. Barrie’s mother was devastated. To comfort her, little James began imitating David’s mannerisms and mimicking his speech. This bizarre charade went on for years… and only got weirder: when James reached 13, the age at which David had died, he literally stopped growing. He never stood taller than 5′, and didn’t shave until he was 24. He always had a thin, high-pitched voice.
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