Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

By: Graesyn Fenix

This month’s book club is on Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Just a warning for those of you who haven’t yet read it, here, there be spoilers!

Old pictures—not like the memories Facebook shows you every day, but super old, like from a box under your grandmother’s bed old—are creepy. They just generally are. The odd stares from people having to hold perfectly still for so long, the idea that pictures of dead people were a thing, the damage the images inevitably take on through the years all add up to generally eerie feeling. This is the premise of Mr. Rigg’s adventurous tale, and it works astonishingly well.

We start off meeting Jacob and his grandfather, where we’re giving a bit of history of the early life of his grandfather and are shown the first of these images. Keep in mind that we’re not just given interesting descriptions of these photos, but the images themselves are peppered into the book’s pages. So when he describes the young Olive and how she levitates, we’re actually shown the picture that Jacob is looking at, which I found to be an incredible way to bring the characters to life.

After getting a frantic call from his grandfather, he drives out to his home to try and settle him down, only to find that he’s not there, and there looks to have been a struggle. He runs out to the woods behind the house and finds his grandfather lying in a pool of blood, his clothing and skin torn. With his last breath his grandfather leaves Jacob with cryptic message that sends the young man on an adventure half way across the world.

I can’t express enough how wonderful and exciting this adventure was, or how perfectly the images were woven into the storyline. The story is what I imagine would happen if X-men from the early 1900s found themselves a TARDIS, it’s imaginative, it’s fun, it’s thrilling, and I couldn’t put it down. Just as you start to think you’ve got this one figured out, Riggs unveils another piece of the puzzle, sending you racing down a path you weren’t even expecting!

The Tim Burton directed movie adaptation is being released next month, starring Eve Green (Penny Dreadful, Dark Shadows) and Samuel L. Jackson (Really? Do I have to tell you what he’s been in?).

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