Wigs's Reviews > Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
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Mar 26, 12

Read from December 06 to 24, 2011

I can't even.



The poor execution of a good idea is just so upsetting to me.

The main problem with this book is that the entire time I was reading I felt like a high school English teacher grading a student's paper, when in fact I am not a teacher or anyone who majored in English or writing. If I am simply a normal reader thinking this, then who the hell was working as the editor?? Did they not bring up these issues? Clearly the several people the author listed in his acknowledgements couldn't have been reading closely enough. The text was just screaming "amateur writer, please help."

What surprises me is that the author's background is in film. Being that I myself have a background in film, I can tell you that the one thing that is stressed is making conclusive ideas. Do not bring up something that has no relevance to the rest of the story (because obviously in film, every second is costly, whereas of course in Microsoft Word there is so consequence to typing more characters.) What bothered me most was that the author seemed unaware about how to properly use the gimmick of his entire book: the old photographs, some photoshopped, some vintage original, to illustrate the world. He used several of these pictures simply to use them, and I find out later that they in fact contribute nothing to the story.

That's right. There's no reason at all for them to be there.



Often it seems the author was thinking "oh that's a cool picture, let's throw it in," when in fact there's no connection that it's in there, besides the narrator finding the picture. Here I'm speaking of the several pictures of Peculiars that we never meet, the clown twins (who we have TWO different photographs of at different times in the book, as if they have significance), the dog headed boy, the girl in the jar, the girl with the reflection....I could go on. Why include these photographs if they are not involved in your story? You may think they look cool, author, but it weakens your story when you make no mention of them in your story after you show their pictures. At least make up some sort of subplot about how they've been disappearing or leaving, as to why you've brought up characters simply for putting in pictures. The author states at the end of the book there are only ten children, so it's not like they're there and just not talking. So if there are only ten children, then the fact that all these pictures in there of much more than ten children makes it confusing and annoying. The lack of cohesion was just destroying my brain.



Another thing that weakened the picture gimmick is that the multiple pictures of Emma were clearly different people and it bothered me that the author pretended that wasn't noticeable. The first picture of Emma was more about age 10/11 looking, and the fact that her age, or a description to indicate she's more mature, isn't stated til two chapters after we see that picture completely derailed me and what the mental picture of her was supposed to be. Then the comparison of the picture of potato peeling Emma with the last picture of Emma were not possibly believable as being the same person. I may sound picky, but if your book is centered around this idea, then make your concept strong! Horace as well, the two pictures we have of Horace aren't possibly the same person, and again, an issue with using about a 9 year old kid for his first picture and then a 17 year old boy's picture for the next. Consistency is important, and if he cared I felt he would have dug deeper into finding better photos for his characters instead of just saying "oh this might work." (And I'm not sure which ones were photoshopped and which ones weren't, but the perspective of Victor's bed in the mirror of that one picture is absolutely impossible, and it bothered me to no end looking at it)

Aside from the fact that the entire book felt like it was created simply to show some 'cool vintage photos,' I felt that the author didn't have a full grip on his own ideas. He had good ideas, as complicated as they are. Nice settings, I enjoyed some of the scenes, like the glowfish, and Enoch's big moment, but the writing itself was rather weak. The thing that bothered me quite a lot for the first 2/3 of the book is that the reader is too smart for the book. This book is clearly meant for older teens, due to the language I couldn't say it's for anybody younger, and I know older teens are clearly capable of putting together the information presented and figuring out what's going on. However the narrator does not, and the reader ends up waiting several more pages each time for the narrator to figure it out and then state importantly that he's figured out what's going on as if it's a revelation when we've been waiting for the obvious for a while. Luckily though, at the end there were at least some things I did not see coming, which felt a bit better. However writing-wise I also found some general writing 'don'ts' that screamed out at me, like lack of pronoun clarification, use of cliche phrases ("face the music"), and using the same phrase over and over in only a few pages time ("torn to pieces").

Additionally, the side story about Marcie (the one with the photo of the girl crouching waiting for the school bus) clearly showed me that the author didn't have a good idea of his own concept. I don't want to spoil the basic premise of how the world works, but if you think about it there's no way she could have been that age waiting for a school bus if you applied the rules of the world to her.

And lastly, the way the book ended....is there supposed to be a followup book? I didn't believe so, but it's so unfinished I'm not sure. Perhaps he was going for a bit of both, like 'if this book does well I'll write another, but if not it doesn't matter.' I understand the reasoning of why it ended how it does: because of the way things turned out, the narrator is now in charge and has plenty of things to do with his life. But there's no conclusion whatsoever. The questions that such openness leaves hanging in the air just adds to the already mounting stack of issues with weak writing.

Overall, the book had some good ideas, and the gimmick with the photos would have been nice, however the ideas aren't fully formed. With lots of editing and reinforcement of concept, this could have been a good book. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the people working with him on this book didn't bring up or didn't force the author to take a longer look at his numerous weak points, we end up with a book that feels flattened by the author's inability to form and communicate ideas effectively.



This book is, sadly, a mess.
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Reading Progress

12/08/2011 page 30
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12/15/2011 page 170
48.0% 2 comments
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Comments (showing 1-37 of 37) (37 new)

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Becky That .gif is perfect for this!!

"The poor execution of a good idea is just so upsetting to me." -- AMEN!!


Susana Duffy why would you go through all that trouble and add a video to this comment? i didn't even know you could do that!


Wigs Susana wrote: "why would you go through all that trouble and add a video to this comment? i didn't even know you could do that!"

Er do you mean gifs? They're not video files, they're just multiple frame images. You can add them to reviews with HTML just like images.

Wasn't a trouble at all and I find people enjoy them.


message 4: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Luna Yes. Actually, I just wanted to tell you that they are hilarious.


Katherine can someone explain what she means when she is talking about Marcie?


Wigs Katherine wrote: "can someone explain what she means when she is talking about Marcie?"

Marcie is the child who left the home and went to live with actual parents. The story explains that Marcie was kidnapped and killed while going on a bus to school in the 1980s.

But since the story says that leaving the school ages you within a matter of hours, she wouldn't have have time to sign up for a school or even go to one, the child would have been an adult after a few hours of being in the outside world.

Hence the world building not making one wit of sense.


Stacey Lucky Great review! Whose the guy in the first.gif? He's incredibly handsome!!!


Wigs Marlon Brando! :)


Stacey Lucky Sorry but is the second guy Tom Hardy ? Ah I can't believe I didn't notice ..


message 10: by Wigs (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wigs haha yes that is Tom Hardy <3


Kayla Diana I wish I could like this review a hundred times. It is exactly how I feel about the book. I would have loved this book had I read it in 5th grade, but as a graduate student in English, I hated it.
Again, I am liking this status a dozen times!


message 12: by Gos (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gos I think the author did it on purpose. The fact that the main character is 16 years old. It was appropriate to be written in that manner.


message 13: by Gos (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gos I agree with the picture gimmick thing though lol


message 14: by Ptr28 (new)

Ptr28 ok then. guess I'm not reading this one.


message 15: by Wigs (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wigs oh yea no it was so pointless peter, lordt.


message 16: by May (new) - rated it 2 stars

May HAHAHA BRILLIANT GIFS


message 17: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Espinoza Good review! Ooooh, Marlon Brando is fine!


bedlambelle Two thumbs up on the marlon brando gif. The book excelled at mediocrity.


message 19: by Laurel (new) - added it

Laurel Norton I do like how you added photographs within your review...that had no particular significance to your writing, and so were actually distracting! Good job. Point well taken.


message 20: by Gos (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gos Laurel wrote: "I do like how you added photographs within your review...that had no particular significance to your writing, and so were actually distracting! Good job. Point well taken."

*APPLIED COLD WATER TO BURNED AREA*


message 21: by Wigs (last edited Feb 13, 2013 12:25AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wigs Laurel wrote: "I do like how you added photographs within your review...that had no particular significance to your writing, and so were actually distracting! Good job. Point well taken."

Oh okay I get it sorry it was difficult to understand what you said based on your grammar. My gif reactions are a reflection of my reactions while reading the book (e.g. eye rolling, shaking my head, and side-eyeing) and add humor in my casual reviews. I find them more relevant than the pictures in Miss Peregrine's, an actual published book.

Also this is the internet.



Thanks for trying though.


message 22: by Ptr28 (new)

Ptr28 no one messes with Wigs



message 23: by Wigs (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wigs

dats right honey

i drag their faves, they stay mad


message 24: by Katy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katy I figured the "clown" pictures were referencing the little shows they put on. I remember the mention that some of the kids dressed up as clowns for the shows. Am I remembering incorrectly? It's possible some of the pictures reference upcoming books in the series (I think it's a series, anyway?), too, but you're right; it would have been better not to use them if they don't add to the actual storyline. The copy I had was an ARC, so it didn't have all the pictures. So sorry you didn't end up liking this!


message 25: by Wigs (last edited Feb 13, 2013 01:31AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wigs The clown pictures were two pics of a set of twins, and Jacob describes them twice. They are separate individuals from anybody we meet in the house, and are not mentioned as to where they might be out of the picture. The fact that they are mentioned twice tho in the beginning of the book would make one think they have some sort of plot significance, but no dice. There are also many other children in pictures we never get to meet, so why show us something if you don't at least explain them away. Why aren't they in the house? Where did they all go?

What majorly bothered me was the picture of the kid crouching, because with the author's world building it would have been an impossibility that the kid would have remained a kid outside of the bubble of Miss Peregrines. The 'kid' would have been an adult.

Just the fact that the author so obviously decided to build a book around a bunch of photographs he found, and then didn't really put anything together correctly, shows poor plot planning.

Never bring up topics you can't conclude in a plot!

Hm I wonder what pics were left out of your ARC version.


message 26: by Katy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katy Well, for one the picture of the kid with the school bus. I don't remember that one at all :-) Other than that, I'd have to actually find my ARC, and then buy a copy of the final text to compare them and find out. *shrug* Eventually I probably will, as I did enjoy the book, but right now? I have other things to do. :-)


message 27: by Wigs (last edited Feb 13, 2013 01:33AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wigs Sorry I edited it, there wasn't a school bus in the pic, it was said it was taken while she was waiting for a school bus but she's like crouching on the ground and there's a shadow of the man taking the picture.

Ah well!


Madeline I agree with everything you said. I wanted to like this book, but the execution was poor. The worst parts for me was the forcing of the photos and when things were obvious but it took Jacob a while to have a revelation. It's a shame it wasn't done better.


Olivia Bryan The author originally wanted to make a book of just the pictures but he was pushed to write a narrative to go along with the pictures. I think he just wanted to show people all of his pictures. He also had to use some pictures from other people to make this story make sense, so given the circumstances, I think he did a fairly decent job. I mean he has made a lot of money off the book so the book is an overall success.


message 30: by R (new) - rated it 2 stars

R I have to ask, from where/what movie is that Marlon Brando gif from?


message 31: by Kelsey (new) - added it

Kelsey There is a follow up book: Hollow City. It was released about two weeks ago. It is supposed to be a trilogy, says the author at a book signing I attended last week.


Sandi Everything said here is exactly what I wished I had written. Excellent review for this book.


Jenna Oh.My.Word. Marlon Brando...wowza!


Kristen Taber Such great points; overall, I can't figure out why this book is getting such rave reviews. I completely agree with you on so much of this.


message 35: by Wigs (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wigs Who, Marlon Brando?


message 36: by Zoey (new) - rated it 3 stars

Zoey I can't agree with you more. I thought the beginning was intriguing and kept reading intently until (*SPOILERS*) he got to the island. I didn't grasp the whole loop thing going on or the random romance he was having with his grandfathers old girlfriend. I guess this isn't my mind of book because through out the whole book I was shaking my head. I didn't even read the ending of this book. I just moved on and I rarely do that with books. This book was OKAY though. I have read worse.


message 37: by Erika (new) - added it

Erika The author stated in an interview that his original draft included a much longer version of how Jacob meets all the peculiar children. It was whittled away by the editors. Possibly, more of the photos were referenced in the deleted sections.


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