Annalisa's Reviews > Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
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's review
Oct 10, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: horror, middle-grade, young-adult
Recommended to Annalisa by: Barnes and Noble
Read from September 22 to October 10, 2011

2.5 stars

Have you ever played that game where one person starts a story and stops mid-sentence and the next person in the circle has to pick up the story? That's how reading this book felt, only instead of jumping from disjointed person to person, it jumps from disjointed photograph to photograph.

Too bad because it started off fantastic. I loved the writing, the humorous way Riggs has with descriptions, and the old-fashion carny photos were a nice touch. I especially loved the analogy of an orphaned Jewish boy hiding, not from Nazis, but from monsters because he was peculiar. Fantastic.

But then Jacob set off in search of these peculiar children and the story became weak explanations of these old, neglected photos. I didn't believe them. With the whole backdrop of WWII, I couldn't help but think about all the lost Jewish artifacts gone to people whom they didn't belong to and who didn't deserve them and I couldn't help make correlations. What about the real story behind these photographs? What would these people and their lost relatives think of the way Riggs used snapshots that were never meant to be public? Maybe if Riggs had told a fantastic story I couldn't help but believe and love I wouldn't have thought about the lost real lives associated with the pictures, but as it is, I didn't think his story justified them.

Some of my other issues: sometimes Riggs relies too heavily on the photographs and fails to give adequate verbal pictures. Like with Emma, whose photographs, one too old and one too young, don't look anything like each other. There isn't any written description of her other than she was hot, but with one of the photographs in in shadow and the other her head turned (neither of which were "hot"), I couldn't visualize her.

I also don't think the loop was explained very well. I didn't quite follow how and when the loop restarted each day and what exactly was happening with the fighter jet fireworks night. I wondered for too long whether time inside the loop affected time outside it and I questioned how one was supposed to jump from loop to loop if loops stuck to a 24-hour period. I could have used more explanation about the wights and hollows too.

I think I would have liked the story better without the photographs as excuses for it. Riggs has some talent as a writer and I wouldn't be opposed to reading him again, but if he follows this up with a sequel, I probably won't check it out.
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Reading Progress

09/22 "Thanks to my YA book club, I'm reading my daugther's Christmas present. Shhh. Don't tell her."
02/18 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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message 1: by Kym (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kym I'm curious to see what you think. I hope I didn't taint your view of it!

Annalisa No, not at all. I'm not that far into it, but I'm not thinking it's a kid book.

Tatiana Yep, yep, completely agree. The photographs provided such a wealth of inspiration, possible creepy road to take, but Riggs made a very pedestrian story out of them.

message 4: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin I've been hearing a lot of negative feedback on this book. :/

Heather i totally dis agree this book is wonderful

Annalisa Heather, I can see why people love the book. I think it had the potential to be a great read, but for me it fell short. Perhaps that is why I was so harsh on it, because I could see the story he could have/wanted to tell.

Annalisa Divia, I can see that. I've read reviews that complained about the mildness of the horror. I think for me it wasn't so much that it wasn't horror enough as much as that it wasn't cool enough. I thought he could come up with cooler excuses for a home for peculiar children and/or an excuse for the pictures.

Annalisa I agree that it's more of a children's book. I think it got labeled as YA because the main character is a teenager. I bought the book for my 10-year-old and I think she'll like it a lot more than a YA audience. That's the problem with labeling anything that can be labeled as YA. It doesn't fit the audience.

Lianne (The Towering Pile) Lavoie I think I understand at least how the time loop jumping works. Each time loop contains one 24 hours "space", but it also exists within normal time, from the time contained within it until the time when the loop is destroyed. So, if you leave the 1940 loop by going out into 1940, instead of going through the grave into 2011, you can access all the loops that existed in 1940, even if they were destroyed by 2011. So if you went into one of those, you could then exit it the way you did the 1940 one and be even further back in time.

I hope that made any sense at all... I actually really enjoyed this book. :)

message 10: by Annalisa (last edited Jan 03, 2012 12:48PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Annalisa Lianne,, that does make more sense. I'm still not sure how the loop closes every day, but I can see how you could jump from loop to loop. It does make me question how many loops are out there (seems too big to be real), but then again I think too much about things that aren't that important :).

message 11: by Gwyn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Gwyn Huff Heather wrote: "i totally dis agree this book is wonderful"

Absolutely enchanting! I love it!

message 12: by Kari (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kari I literally just finished reading this book, and I'm 28. I thought it was a very engaging book, and at the beginning I did get that spine-tingling quiver of creepiness.

I was also glad to see a different take on the idea of aging should a Peculiar leave the loop for an extended amount of time. I noticed immediately the similarities between Riggs' loops and faery lore, which is fitting giving the book's location. In faery lore, faeries exist and live in sídhe--hollow hills--(or sacred trees or buildings known as raths, depending on which myth you're reading). Sometimes people were tricked into entering these sídhe, where time moved differently than the outside world. Like the loops, a person can stay in this other world, as the outside one goes by. A minute could be a whole lifetime lost in the mortal realm. It was this similarity that made me smile. That fairy tales were also developed by humans to explain Peculiars, only added to my affection of this book.

I can agree that this does seem like a mild-case of X-Men, but I got more of a The Thief of Always-feel, in that the summer never ended, and the house held odd children and a shape-shifting old woman.

For the one who said that Riggs would have done better to tell the true stories behind the photographs, I think what is presented is perfect. I myself have started to collect vintage photographs/postcards (from the late Victorian-era to the early 1910s). I'm doing this to not only decorate my house, but to breathe life back into people that are long since dead. I'd like to think that the two ladies (from about 1920 or so) sitting right next to me on my desk, are in some way my muses, and for me, Riggs has done just that. He has taken these photos, breathed new life into them, and presented them in such a way that might have otherwise rendered them lost and obsolete. It's impossible to know the histories of these people featured in Riggs' photographs. That there are obvious differences between Emma, especially, just makes the characters more vivid in my mind's-eye.

So, to say the least (and I've already said too much, and have yet to write my review!), I really enjoyed this book. If a sequel is in the works--and I hope it is--then I'll definitely be reading it.

Annalisa Kari,
I'm glad you enjoyed the book. It isn't without it's charm. I'm going to give it to my daughter for Christmas. Hope she enjoys it as much. I had no idea about the faery lore. Thanks for sharing.

Brittany You couldn't have worded it better that it sounds like someone started the story and another person took it from there. I got really frustrated at the end and almost gave up on reading it. My hopes were pretty high because I liked the beginning. I agree with you about the photographs, also. I don't think they were needed.

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