Sunday, October 16, 2011
Author: Ransom Riggs
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pub. Date: June 7, 2011
I have to admit that despite the reviews I read, I don't think I quite understood what I was getting into when I started reading about these peculiar children. Overall I guess I'd say this was okay, and I could see how some people loved it. I didn't love it as I hoped I would, but thought it was fun. It was slightly creepy, and not just in the obvious way. The main issue is I did not realize how much supernatural or fantasy elements were involved. Or maybe it wasn't so much fantasy but time travel type of stuff. Definitely not realistic which is what I expected for whatever harebrained reason.
Now that Jacob is a teenager he realizes that a lot of his grandfather's stories about his own childhood can't be real. His grandfather told stories about monsters that were out to get him, about peculiar children who lived in a home he stayed in. He tells stories about a girl who could levitate, a boy who was invisible, a boy with incredible strength (who could lift a boulder), and many others. Upon the grandfather's sudden death, he leaves Jacob with mysterious last words that Jacob has no clue what to do with. Jacob has a very difficult time dealing with his grandfather's death and eventually starts seeing a psychiatrist to help him. Eventually Jacob convinces his parents to let him go on a trip to Wales to check out the home his grandfather grew up in. What he finds, instead, is a decrepit, battered old home that couldn't possibly still house anyone. And the town itself is very isolated and sparse. It's a weird place, for sure, and only gets weirder as Jacob realizes the peculiar children DO exist, STILL, and that his grandfather's stories may not only have been true, but that they certainly didn't tell the whole story.
The plot takes an adventurous turn about three quarters of the way through the book. I could see where that was fun, but that was also the most unrealistic. The book was neat in that it interspersed actual photographs throughout the book (like the creepy one on the cover). The author noted that all the photos were originals, though some were slightly altered. Although it was interesting to see the pictures, I felt like sometimes the story behind them was contrived just so that the picture could be included. The picture on the cover is so intriguing to me, but don't be mistaken like I was and think she's the main character. I was confused for a little bit because the main female character is actually a teenager and picturing her as a little girl doesn't make sense!
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was surely a peculiar read, and I can say that I really liked all the characters. I liked the way it rounded out and created sort of a final resolution for Jacob in terms of his grandfather. Those who grew up with grandparents and enjoyed learning about their histories may enjoy that aspect of the book. I didn't have that experience but was still able to appreciate it in the characters. I did enjoy this book. The quirkiness and fantasy aspect of it is probably something I may have liked more when I was a kid, though. I'd still recommend this if you're looking for something different!