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Barrie wasn't the only adult around
on 3 December 2010
This book was both interesting and irritating. The Du Maurier family had problems; whether Barrie added to them is a moot point. As a biographer, Dudgeon is entitled to speculate where there is good supporting evidence, but his clear dislike of Barrie, and his readiness to blame him for anything that goes wrong in the life of anyone to whom Barrie becomes close is frustrating. Too much Dudgeon and not enough J M Barrie: to whom he irritatingly refers to as 'Jim' throughout the book. Barrie may have been an undue influence on the children, but they had parents, and if the 'lost boys' mother was more entranced by Barrie than by her own husband, surely that is her responsibility, not Barrie's. The same is true of other adult relationships. Biographers need to stand back and take a somewhat ironic stance to the people they dissect.