Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Vervegirl reviews Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Published by Quirk Books 
Released June 7 2011
352 pages
 
Warning: May contain spoilers

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RiggsBy Claramae Acasio

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a colourful, compelling and fairly unique (albeit a little creepy!) story about one boy’s journey to another world and his encounter with some “peculiar” individuals. The story opens with 16 year-old Jacob, born in a wealthy family, who is seemingly apathetic and, at times, rebellious despite his fortunate predicament. The only people that Jacob has formed a recognizable close relationship with are his only friend (or rather, the closest person he can call a friend) and his grandfather, a WWII veteran.

Throughout his upbringing, Jacob’s grandfather regaled him with stories of his childhood experience in a refuge with children of superhuman abilities. Jacob grew up whole-heartedly believing these stories, but in getting older, started believing more so in his grandfather’s senility.

He is then faced with a horrific family tragedy, inevitably leading to Jacob’s dangerous journey into landmarks of his grandfather’s past. In an attempt to understand and seek truth to the stories, he also ultimately changes the entire course of his life.

Ransom Riggs interweaves various settings, contrasting contemporary urban living, rural lands, and fantasy in this first-person story told in the eyes of protagonist Jacob. I must admit, I was tempted many times to jump ahead of myself, in the hopes of discovering a revelation in the Jacob’s journey, or in many cases, skip over tense parts – is he going to die?!?!! Riggs keeps you guessing from the start, lacing the story with mysterious clues like letters, locked boxes, old photos, and cryptic dialogue, placing the reader in Jacob’s path of discovery– experiencing his alienation from family, society, to his emotional transformation after experiencing a tragedy and facing danger in an alternate reality. The story is very dynamic and moves quickly, which admittedly, kept me in a state of discomfort and tension throughout, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as it’s very experiential.

What drives the story is not just its plot, but the authentic photography (yes, they are legit!) the author has carefully and strategically placed throughout the book to augment the narrative. The photography is haunting, reminiscent of “freak shows” in the 20s. Think along the lines of faceless children, a dog with the head of a boy, made real in photographic proof. I found myself averting my eyes from some! Although, during those times, was reading this – ok don’t laugh – at night.

As for the tone being told with a 16 year old voice, I felt like something lacked in the depth of description, which compromised some of the potential richness of this story. I felt like it relied heavily on the photography to describe character and setting. That being said, it is very easy to read and understand, and with the combination of more mature themes and graphic content, this story can be appreciated by a wide range of readers. I would definitely recommended this book for those open to something a little different, and who are keen on suspense and fantasy – and who don’t mind a creepy photo or two. It will keep you on the edge, and hopefully (like me) be something you won’t able to put down. I look forward to a future installment of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children!