The Burden of Truth

The boy who never grew up. The girl who never could.

“On June 26 1932 Alice opened the Lewis Carroll exhibition at Bampus, the London bookshop. Beside her was Peter Davies, the original Peter Pan.” Anne Clark


I am Alice. Trapped within the pages of a book perfumed with memories of childhood. No one wants to hear my story. They have inscribed the pages with their own. Nostalgia for days long past.

I grew up. I grew old. I lost a son in the war. Who wants to hear a story that debunks assumptions they hold so dear?

There is only one Alice and that Alice is me, but while I wither and die, that girl in a blue dress will be as alive to others as I was to Mr Dodgson when he first gifted me the manuscript.

Let it be a comfort to you that Alice should be forever sauntering around Wonderland, having tea with the White Rabbit, exchanging witty remarks with the Cheshire Cat and questing with the Mad Hatter. Your Alice.

peter-panI am Peter. Not Peter Pan. He belonged to another, to a man who imprisoned us in a world of his own imagining. Love can be a punitive thing.

I was not his favourite, and yet he chose my name, and with one word suspended my life into that of a boy who was never to grow up.

I did grow up. I joined the army, married, opened a publishing firm. That name, that boy, followed me around like a shadow. How I wanted to forget him!

People don’t like meeting me. To see Peter — the man — reminds them what growing up really means.

They remember the pain of discovery. Neverland is a lie. Boys cannot fly. There are no Tinkerbells and the only place you will find a Captain Hook is amongst the dusty pages of a book about  five boys trapped in a world of James Barrie’s making.


alice-and-peterTwo years after meeting the original Peter Pan, on the 16th of November 1934, Alice Liddell Hargreaves died peacefully in her sleep, aged 82.

On the 5th of April 1960, Peter Llewelyn Davies, then 63, walked to Sloan Square tube station  and threw himself under a train.