I'm afraid I never liked Peter Pan much as a child - in spite (or because?) of it having been inspired by my grandfather Jack and his four brothers - J.M. Barrie, in a much-quoted comment, said that he 'rubbed together' the five boys to make a 'spark' (of fire) that ended up as his most famous play.
I remember going to see the play in the theatre one Christmas when I was around eight, with my mother. I don't recall her saying what she thought of it (I suspect maybe I was telepathising her reservations about it - I was a very osmotic child, like many children). Anyway I recall loathing Tinkerbell. And my attitude to the bit where she was going to die if children didn't clap their hands to show they believed in fairies was 'pass me the bucket'!
Of course I always wanted to fly like a bird - who doesn't? - but I was sniffy about Neverland, full of boys playing Indians etc. An odd reaction, when I was totally obsessed with wanting to visit 'otherlands', such as C.S. Lewis's Narnia and the parts of the past etc where E. Nesbitt's,
Edward Eager's and Philippa Pearce's fictional children landed up.
Later I reread the play - I thought Wendy was sappy, not a rivetting character (probably always did think exactly that) and Mrs Darling her mother seemed on the yukkily sentimental side... Sexism? Well, er, double sexism actually - poor Mr Darling is portrayed as a bad-tempered wimp and, if I recall aright, most of the pirates are pretty thick. And then of course there's the crashingly appalling Captain Hook.
Yes, I know the whole point is that Barrie was being deliberately 'ageist' - only children could do any right. But Peter Pan himself? GHASTLY CHILD I always thought. One step further and he'd be up there with the terrifying psychopath child characters cooked up by William Golding in 'Lord of the Flies' and Susan Hill in 'I'm the King of the Castle'.
In the play's favour, I did like the concept of losing one's shadow (as when Peter's had to get sewn back on - by self-sacricing 'little mother' Wendy - urgghh!), and it's obvious that the play has many clever sly observations about life and Captain Hook has some really great lines (but then we all know the devil always has all the best ones).
Please, if people have got any thoughts about 'Peter Pan', do comment!