Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Published by Quirk Books, June 4, 2013

Genre: YA (Popcorn)

Format: I audiobooked this one via Sora

I read this one when our school tech specialist recommended it. 

Ransom Riggs, an English lit major (friend of John Green per Wikipedia) and film school alum, wrote this book inspired by his personal collection of old photographs. So, how do these photographs enter the story? Jake grows up with his eccentric grandfather telling him stories of the youth pictured in his grandpa's own stack of photos. In my imagination, these photographs and stories were circus-like. There was the kid with the invisible head, the levitating girl, and more. According to Grandpa Abe, Abe met these kids years ago outside of Wales at an enchanted schoolhouse. 

When Jacob's grandfather dies a gruesome and mysterious death, Jake, with the support of his awkward therapist and bird-watching father, travels to the island near Wales to investigate, searching for this home for peculiar children from his grandfather's tales. 

Ultimately, what Jacob finds is adventure and a group of kindred spirits that become "framily." 

I have only read the first book in this series of six. My impression is that the story read more "children's lit" than YA. For some reason, it reminded me of the Boxcar Children with what felt like a little older content thrown in to appeal to a wider audience. When the book begins, Jacob is working in his mother's family's store and trying to get fired---who would fire the owner's kid? Later in the book, Jacob establishes a love interest that seems more mature. Otherwise, he struck me more as 11 or 12 than 16. 

What I saw as a lack of genre consistency in this book was exactly what Tim Burton noted he was drawn to in directing the film version of this story--is it dark comedy? Pure fantasy? Though I haven't seen the movie version yet, I wonder if this will be one of the rare situations where the film is better than the book. If Tim Burton brought the Big Fish or Edward Scissorhands character charm and his just-weird-enough to the time warps and falcon headmistress to this story, I'm in. Otherwise, I will leave the rest of the series to the 7th graders.


"I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. The first of these came as a terrible shock and, like anything that changes you forever, split my life into halves: Before and After." 



Neither the characters nor the plot grabbed my attention, though setting and character descriptions are dramatic and cinematic.

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