Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

“A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.”

To be honest, I found the front cover of this novel totally creepy. I avoided looking at it in bookstores for the longest time. Then I saw the whimsical trailer for the film adaptation and thought that perhaps I had judged it too quickly.

Ransom Riggs – a screenwriter by trade – as good as said that he wrote Miss Peregrine’s like he would a screenplay, “Sometimes when I’m writing, I imagine that I’m directing the scene… for instance They walked into the room. That’s a wide shot. Her lip trembled is a close up.” (Interview with creative director Jason Rekulak from Quirk Books). And subsequently Miss Peregrine’s reads very visually and I can see why Tim Burton was chosen as director for the film. Though I did read the book before seeing the film, the whimsy of the film trailer stuck to the back of my mind like Hugh Apiston’s bees stuck to his face. It made the scenes of grotesque horror somewhat bearable.

To be perfectly honest, I found it hard to relate and cheer for Jacob. His character (or there lack of) was appalling in how he treated those in authority – his grandfather, his boss, his parents, Miss Peregrine even. He was self-centred and rude, but I suppose that’s what teenagers are like. Eventually the plot took over and the big reveal in the middle of the book (side note – I totally did not see this coming. I had to put the book down out of sheer awe and shock! It was such an awesome moment of the pieces of the puzzle falling together) distracted me from Jacob and enticed me instead of the fantastical adventure they were about to embark on.

It wasn’t a perfect book – but Ransom Riggs did pretty well for his debut novel. But how do I recommend it? Jacob is just 16 years of age, yet the graphic and creepy nature of the story, not to mention the vulgarities and sexual innuendo in language, makes me wonder whom this book is really written for. When it comes down to it, I think anyone who likes to read stories that are really hard to put down would be the perfect fit, ‘cause once I hit that reveal nugget, I just had to know what happened next – all the way until the very last page. I am so looking forward to reading Hollow City (book 2).

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children)
Author: Ransom Riggs
Type: Fiction
Category: Fantasy Thriller
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: 2013
Edition: Reprint Edition
ISBN: 978-1594746031

four stars out of five




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