Reading O’Brien’s fairytale, I couldn’t help thinking how wildly our imaginations throbbed before the arrival of television and the onset of electronic games.

Of course, this story is not your ordinary, run of the mill fairytale. The word ‘Darkened’ in the title is not there for mere decoration. In fact, I don’t consider this a children’s story—more like a wondrous escape for teens and adults. Even this squeamish grownup had to skip over some parts, yet William O’Brien managed to hold my interest to the very end, which is not a small feat—during the US Open, while Serena Williams is playing, and I could not tear myself away from the book.

Why? Well, you encounter Mrs. Kipple, a warm hearted old lady, the owner of an antique shop where all sorts of keen, special objects glitter and sparkle for Peter to explore. Then there are many lessons you learn along the way, in the Jester’s house, and on the journey to the fairy’s grotto which mimics our own world, exposing many clever similarities:

Seebright, the bird in a lavender vest with pink spectacles to see the world in a positive way. The mouse that needs Peter’s help as she is too small to reach.

Shylong who is so shy, he disappears into the background, but whose kindness gives him the measure to balance power between evil and good, a form of our ‘rainy day people’. In fact, the whole adventure is about saving Shylong.

The lifelongians who live long by not making waves and keeping the status quo, even becoming invisible.

The path of information that gives Peter knowledge on anything he wants, a little like our own World Wide Web. As you wonder if he will ever get home, you read: “Doubt is unacceptable and should not enter you; it is merely evil trying to divert you and increase the difficulty of your task,” and you change a little. I highly recommend.

Connect with William O’Brien by and his own great journey.

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