Six degrees of separation: Room to Peter Pan


I have been so keen to play #6 degrees but every month the date catches up with me every time. I have tried to prepare but it still almost caught me out.

For real this time.

I have read Room by Emma Donahue several times. I think it is a great example of a child as narrator. But it got me thinking about what it really like to be held hostage,  so I sought out some non fiction, and was most impressed by Natascha Kampusch’s 3096 Days and her rejection of Stockholm Syndrome with the explanation that any appearance of identifying with the kidnapper is a survival strategy for the victim. It made more sense to me than Stockholm Syndrome.

Speaking of survival stories, The Road by Cormac McCarthy is one of the most devastating apocalyptic landscapes I have read. No one really survives, though I have some tiny tiny hope for the boy.

Almost as haunting as The Road is the story of another boy in Sonya Hartnett’s Of a Boy. The ending is so unexpected and it took my breathe away.

Of a Boy was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin in 2003 but the winner that year was Alex Miller’s Journey to the Stone Country which as I remember seemed to involve a lot of spitting.

Another book featuring and even more epic journey is Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams who sadly is no longer with us to make us laugh. I love that Arthur Dent sets off on his journey in his pj’s.

Another character on a journey in her pj’s is Wendy from J M Barrie’s Peter Pan Another story about a boy.

Phew. I made it in time.

12 thoughts on “Six degrees of separation: Room to Peter Pan

  1. Interesting links! The only one I’ve read is Peter Pan, one of my favourites when I was a child. I’ve been meaning to read The Road for ages and also have never got round to reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy yet.

  2. Hi Kathryn,
    I’m a fellow Aussie author, from the Adelaide Hills. It’s the first time I’ve played 6 Degrees of Separation too, because I only just found out about it during the week. While following other links, it was a pleasure to come across your blog, and also read some of the other posts about the power of stories.
    My 6 Degrees of Separation is here

  3. Terrific chain. The Road popped up on someone else’s chain but they got to it a different way 🙂

    Agree that the ending of Hartnett’s Of a Boy is stunningly unexpected. It remains the saddest book I’ve ever read. I met Hartnett once and told her that, mentioning that I thought I needed to reread it to come to terms with it. She looked at me hard and said “Never go back.” So I guess Of a Boy will just stay where it is in my memory – beautiful, devastating, memorable.

    1. I love that Hartnett said that. How intriguing. I don’t think I could go back and read it because it is too devasting. A bit like how I only rewatch the first half of The Bridge to Terabithia and then pretend the movie is over.

  4. I like your connections of six degrees. This is such a good way to find new title to read. I think I will put “Of a Boy” on my reading list. If you want to read a good book from a hostage, Amanda Lindhout’s book “A House in the Sky – a Memoir” is, in my opinion excellent.

    1. Thank you for your recommendation. I also read Jaycee Dugard’s book but I did not find she had the same ability to reflect on her experience as Natascha.

  5. I loved your chain and the way you put it all together, Kathryn. I’d never taken much notice of Arthur Dent heading off in his PJs, but now you’ve mentioned it, I think perhaps there needs to be more journeys made in them. Is that the point you almost included The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

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