book review, fantasy

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Time travel, strange abilities and flesh hungry monsters. This book has it all.

Jacob Portman is haunted by the last words of his dying grandfather, and the monster he saw in his backyard, so on the advice of his psychiatrist, Jacob and his father journey to a small island in Wales where his grandfather grew up during the Second World War.

Who, and what, Jacob finds on the island changes his life forever, in magical ways that he could never have predicted.

Every time I watch the wonderful Tim Burton adaptation of this novel, I decide I’ll buy the book and read it, but each time I dissuade myself from doing so. Until last night, when I decided to find out if the inconsistencies in the movie are the fault of the source material. Turns out they’re not.

Billed as children’s fiction, I would say it’s young adult at the very least. The themes are very adult, the slow, thoughtful prose reflecting on death and aging something I love now, but would not have enjoyed as a child.

Inspired by real photographs gathered from various sources, I applaud Riggs for putting together such a deep and imaginative world based on the images presented. However, I am uncomfortable with him publishing the photographs in the book. I understand why he did, but looking at them all I could think of was that these were real people, not Emma or Abe or whatever name he gave them, and I would hate to stumble upon an old family pic repurposed in such a way.

Also, while the trick shots that inspired the peculiar children are pertinent to the plot, other pictures seem shoehorned in – such as a photograph of a child in a bunny suit, supposedly taken of Jacob’s disappointed father on Halloween – and superfluous to the narrative.

This book is very different to the movie, but in a good way. They are both delightful works of art. Riggs provides all the nuances of time bubbles, adults in children’s bodies and the problems of dating your grandfather’s lover that I found missing in the movie. While Burton’s version is proper, whimsical and ethereal as his Emma, Riggs paints with a brush that is often mucky and crude, and I’m okay with that.

I award Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is available for $7.08 ebook and $10.99 print book on Amazon.

13 thoughts on “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs”

  1. I get exactly what you mean, but also, I just wanted to love ths book, but in the end didn’t. I get that’s clever, but is that really enough. It was like a well written version of the Xmen or Umberella acadamey. Just a little souless

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s very strange, because of all the peculiar children, it focuses much more on mundane things. It isn’t very fun or action orientated and, as you say, it is a bit XMen like. I think they did a marvelous job with the movie.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed the movie, despite a few things not making sense (ie inconsistent). I’m tempted to read the book now to see how things are handled.

    Liked by 1 person

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