Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children By: Ransom Riggs
“A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.”Sixteen year old Jacob grew up listening to his Grandfather’s amazing tales of World War II, but not in the way you’d think. There were monsters, and photographs of bizarre children from a floating girl, and invisible boy, a girl who can conjure flames, to a little girl with extraordinary strength. Jacob loved hearing these stories, even if they tended to scare him too. But pretty soon, Jacob got older and the stories became just that, stories. Until his Grandfather is killed in a horrible accident. The tragedy sends Jacob’s mind reeling and his parents, fearing for their son’s sanity enlist in the help of a psychologist who decided that the most important thing for Jacob’s sanity is to journey to the very house in his Grandfather’s stories, the orphanage that had saved his Grandfather in World War II from the Nazi’s on a remote island off the coast of Wales. It is here that he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The broken walls and abandoned atmosphere of the home give the appearance of a haunted house, but when Jacob finds a trunk of photos that look like some his Grandfather had, it becomes vividly clear that the children were more than just peculiar, they were also dangerous. Then Jacob uncovers the most impossible of explanations…that these dangerously peculiar children may still be alive.
I thought this book would be a horror book, creepy children with unexplainable abilities? A strict headmistress who can shape shift and control time? Abandoned looking orphanages and horrible monsters? How could it be anything but spine-tingling? However, it wasn’t creepy at all. It was a slow moving book, but the plot really interested me, especially since there are a ton of vintage photos spread throughout the book to add to the creepy children bit, but the execution of the plot was anything but interesting. I felt like the author used the pictures first and then tried to worm the plot around them and in some cases he completely forced some pictures into the book that didn’t work. In doing all of this it made the entire story not fit which made it feel awkward to read but the story itself has so much potential. But something didn’t click right… it feels disconnected and messy and even with all the creepy photographs it’s not smooth. It doesn’t flow well and like I mentioned earlier, the creepy factor is missing, except for the creepy romance…if you’ve read the book, you’ll understand, if not, I’m not telling, it may be the only creepy factor for the book!
Then there is the main character, Jacob. I absolutely despised him. I hate it when rich, spoiled, entitled characters constantly wallow in their own self-pity for no good reason, because they have no concept of working hard, life, or pain. One quote of many that irritated me is when he says, “If I never went home, what exactly would I be missing? I pictured my cold cavernous house, my friendless town full of bad memories, the utterly unremarkable life that had been mapped out for me.” This boy is ridiculously rich, with loving parents (though they too act rich and entitled), a huge house with anything he wants, a part-time job that he takes for granted and spends more time trying to get fired from, a future as a successful business man, a family-owned company, wonderful memories of his Grandfather before the accident, and HAD a friend who unsurprisingly walked out after he insulted his mother with the most foul of language possible.
I still have mixed feelings about this book and am unsure what rating to give so I’ve decided on 3 out of 5 stars. It just seemed unorganized and not as creepy as it could’ve been.
What did you think of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children? Did you like it? What were it’s good points? The bad points? What did you think of the creepy romance? What are your thoughts on the movie?