J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys The Real Story Behind Peter Pan Andrew Birkin

Publication date:
11 Jul 2003
Yale University Press
344 pages: 229 x 159mm
120 b-w illus.

An enchanting biography of J. M. Barrie, the man who created Peter Pan and his Lost Boys

“For an insightful exploration of Barrie and the boys who inspired him, nothing rivals [this book].”—Norman Allen,
Smithsonian Magazine

J. M. Barrie, Victorian novelist, playwright, and author of Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, led a life almost as magical and interesting as as his famous creation. Childless in his marriage, Barrie grew close to the five young boys of the Llewelyn Davies family, ultimately becoming their guardian and devoted surrogate father when they were orphaned. Andrew Birkin draws extensively on a vast range of material by and about Barrie, including notebooks, memoirs, and hours of recorded interviews with the family and their circle, to describe Barrie’s life and the wonderful world he created for the boys.

Originally published in 1979, this enchanting and richly illustrated account is reissued with a new preface to mark the release of Neverland, the film of Barrie’s life, and the upcoming centenary of Peter Pan.

“A psychological thriller . . . one of the year’s most complex and absorbing biographies.”—Gerald Clarke, Time

“A terrible and fascinating story.”—Eve Auchincloss, Washington Post

Andrew Birkin has written many screenplays, including The Name of the Rose with Alain Godard and The Story of Joan of Arc with Luc Besson. He is currently writing the script for Patrick Suskind’s Perfume.

"Mr. Birkin writes that he has tried to create ‘a documentary account,’ not an interpretive biography. He offers such a wealth of firsthand information that the book holds up 25 years after it was first published (it was reissued last year) and becomes a rich complement to the film. Beautifully designed, the book reproduces letters and diary entries from Barrie and his circle, as well as dozens of photographs."—Caryn James, New York Times

"His most acute biographer, Andrew Birkin, whose, J. M. Barrie and the Lost Boys,  has been granted a timely reissue. [It] digs up some astounding entries from Barrie’s private notebooks. Some are composed in the third person, as jottings toward a possible novel."—Anthony Lane, New Yorker

"A psychological thriller . . . one of the year’s most complex and absorbing biographies."—Gerald Clarke, Time

"A terrible and fascinating story."—Eve Auchincloss, Washington Post

"It’s a brave biographer that takes on James Barrie…because Andrew Birkin’s extraordinary book about Barrie’s relationship with the Llewelyn Davies family, J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys, though more than a quarter-of-a-century old, continues to stick as firmly to Barrie’s identity as the shadow that Wendy sews back onto Peter." —Mark Bostridge, Independent on Sunday