Confession: I am terrified of children. Especially those serious ones that just stare at you, which is why Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs was not ideal bedtime reading for me, but great pre-work breakfast reading.
So Jacob is living a relatively charmed life, I mean he doesn’t have much in the way of friends or anything, but his family is mad rich. However, within the family there are the kooks. But every single family has those, right? Anyways, Jacob’s grandfather provides Jacob with a steady diet of stories about childhood monsters he faced. Jacob eventually grows skeptical, but then his grandfather trots out some photographs, which we get to see in the pages of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. So, Jacob is still a skeptic until his grandfather is brutally murdered by one of the ‘monsters’ that his grandfather talked about. His gramps says some parting words and Jacob finds himself jetsetting to Wales.
In Wales, Jacob meets a motely assortment of people and because I don’t want to spoil anything, I will only say there are children and they are peculiar.
Ransom Riggs takes what could have been a cheesy gimmick and turns it into something more. You see, all of the photographs in Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children are real and found. They work perfectly within the story and do not jar or disrupt the plotline. I felt this was a unique reading experience. And while it could have gone totally wrong, it didn’t.
“I couldn’t stop myself, so I thought about all the bad things and I fed it and fed it until I was crying so hard I had to gasp for breath between sobs. I thought about how my great-grandparents had starved to death. I thought about their wasted bodies being fed to incinerators because people they didn’t know hated them. I thought about how the children who lived in this house had been burned up and blown apart because a pilot who didn’t care pushed a button. I thought about how my grandfather’s family had been taken from him, and how, because of that my dad grew up feeling like he didn’t have a dad, and now I had acute stress and nightmares and was sitting alone in a falling-down house and crying hot, stupid tears all over my shirt. All because of a seventy-year-old hurt that had somehow been passed down to me like some poisonous heirloom, and monsters I couldn’t fight because they were all dead, beyond killing or punishing or any kind of reckoning. “
The book is told in first person from Jacob’s perspective. I found him easy to connect with. At first, he is desperately lonely, but then when he forms some true friendship bonds, we the reader get to experience that first hand joy of finding ‘your people’. Kind of like BEA, when you meet with your friends for the first time. Although, not all is fun and games, as there is a very palpable danger.
You see, the monsters mentioned in the beginning of the book by Jacob’s grandpa is real. They are these dudes with tentacles on their face who pretty much enjoy eating peculiar children, meaning the children are in danger. However, to be completely honest I found the child photographs much more scary than the monsters.
My biggest complaint is Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children ends on a cliffhanger. Unfortunately I’ve grown weary of cliffhangers and just want books to have real endings. This one, well, let’s just say it opens that way for a sequel.
Disclosure: Received for review.