Jennifer Haight's Reviews > Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
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Feb 28, 2012

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Read from February 28 to March 09, 2012

I was drawn to this book from the moment I saw it. The cover has an eerie photograph of a Victorian girl levitating in a forest. She has hollow eyes that beg to be explored. The font which is partly chalk written and includes a filigree mask screams of dark intrigue and secrets. When I opened the book and felt the slick pages and saw the old photographs interwoven throughout the book my tactile sensations were as titillated as my visual had been. Unfortunately my expectations of what the book could be were more extraordinary then the book proved to be.

There are beautifully written passages which successfully invoke a sense of place and emotion. But unfortunately the story loses focus in the last section of the book.

“The sky was turning the color of a fresh bruise as we pulled into my grandfather’s subdivision, a bewildering labyrinth of interlocking cul-de-sacs known collectively as Circle Village.”

“It was my grandfather’s island. Looming and bleak, folded in mist, guarded by a million screeching birds, it looked like some ancient fortress constructed by giants.”

“But beyond all that, above the houses and fields and sheep doddering around like little puffs of cotton candy, I could see tongues of dense fog licking over the ridge in the distance, where this world ended and the next one began, cold, damp and sunless.”

The story itself which starts out very strong with characters that one can relate to and fascinating locations that are both fantastical and realistic, by the last third of the book so many side stories are interwoven that focus is lost and the characters move as chess pieces to end the convoluted story. The story opens with teen Jacob struggling to fit into his family and work life. After his grandfather dies he has strange visions and people think that he’s crazy. Upon a doctor’s suggestion he goes to an island and discovers Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

It’s impossible to reveal much of the storyline that follows without ruining the stories twists and surprises.

Many have written about the similarities of this storyline to that of the X-Men comics. In this book the children known as “peculiars” because of irregular abilities such as levitating, creating fire, exaggerated strength, etc. live together in a school where they are protected and encouraged to use their gifts in controlled ways. Although the reference is visible Riggs does take the characters in a different direction which in no way echoes the X-Men storyline.

The book is slated to be turned into a film by Tim Burton. It actually may become one of those rare exceptions in which the film will be better than the book. If Burton infuses more emotional intensity and clear plot points into the last third of the story it could be an incredible piece of work. The film is due to be released sometime on 2013.
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10/10/2016 marked as: read

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