“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”
by Ransom Riggs
Published by Quirk Books (2011)
Okay before we start on this book I have to share some info that took place in the reading of this book. While reading this fascinating young adult fiction, I opened up a store with a friend of mine. While opening the store I started reading this book in hardcover format, that’s important and will be explained later. The store we have opened is True Hideaway Family & Gaming ( http://www.truehideaway.com or find us on face book) The central focus of the store is for gamers especially those that play “Magic; the Trading Card Game,” we have friday night tournaments and are looking at maybe doing tournaments other nights since we’ve become popular.
We affectionately refer to our store as a “nerd store,” because it is home to all things nerdy. My part of the store is comic books and collectibles, the other aspect is we sell books (manga, reprinted pulp-fiction books, sci-fi / fantasy novels and graphic novels) as well as all the gaming materials. We even have regular “old-fashioned” board games and anyone can come in anytime and play a game. Role playing games seem to be highly popular and we have folks come in and play their campaigns. I am liquidating my old comic book collection of around 2,000 or so comics and when I sold an old “Kiss” comic from the mid-70s for $70, I decided to reward myself by finally buying a kindle.
With my rewarded kindle in hand, I loaded up some books that are on my to-read list and took off. The first book I loaded was this book, I was halfway through the hardcover, but I thought what better way to launch than to get this “peculiar” book rolling. I am now in love with my kindle, but every so often I know I’m going to go back to a regular tree killing book, but for now, I’m a kindler.
Okay let’s move on to this book, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” When I first picked up this book I wasn’t aware that it was a Young Adult fiction, I knew it was fiction, but the goal is for ages 13 and up. The and up is very true, this book is very well written, with a fascinating story and some great adventures thrown in that make this book perfect for all ages.
The book was originally intended to be a picture book with the photographs that were collected by various people from bins of lost photographs found at flea markets and such. But thanks to a genius editor at Quirk Books, Riggs wrote a story based on the photographs. The photos are all peculiar in and of themselves and putting them together to form a story the author shows not only genius himself but a storytelling ability that would put any comic book writer to shame.
The bulk of the pictures feature various weirdness of subjects; a man posing with a rock in the background looking as though he’s lifting the boulder, a young boy’s head on a dog’s body, a young girl looking as though she’s holding a flaming orb. Many of the pictures are a bit creepy and sometimes when the story behind them created by Riggs is told they can seem extremely normal or even creepier.
The story revolves around Jacob whose grandfather had escaped Nazi invasion by fleeing to a children’s home on an island off the coast of Wales. The children are all “peculiar,” at least according to the stories from Jacob’s grandfather. There is the invisible boy, a teacher that is a bird, a strong man, a girl that floats, one that controls the growth of plants. So at times this school seems to have come out of an issue of X-men comics. But the story goes even further when Jacob witnesses the death of his grandfather at the hands of a shadowy figure. Jacob tells his story and immediately branded as suffering a mental breakdown due to the loss of his grandfather. His grandfather’s last words were to follow the loop to September 30, 1940 and find the bird. Cryptic yes, but after exploring his grandfather’s possessions he finds that the school his grandfather survived the war in exists.
When Jacob and his father make a trip to Wales, the dark secret behind “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” is revealed and soon Jacob must save the children and possibly the world.
Superb creativity that will capture the attention of anyone of all ages.