Book Review – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs

Format: Hardcover

Published: 2011

 

Jacob Portman has a fairly quiet life – he works at a drugstore, which his family owns, has one friend, and a grandfather who he adores.  The grandfather has a thousand stories of the peculiar children he lived with when he was sent to Wales to escape WWII.

Everyone thought they were just stories, until the night his grandfather was attacked.  The night Jacob saw the hideous creatures in the woods.  The night that Grampa Portman tells him that he’s not safe, and to go to the island.

All he has to go by are the old stories.  And the cryptic message he tells Jacob as he dies – “Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man’s grave.  September third, 1940.”

A gajillion shrinks later, Jacob thinks he’s on the road to recovery, and he asks to go to the island.  He wants to know what his grandfather meant, even if it is all hooey.  More importantly, he wants to know who his grandfather was.

 

Now, I can relate to this book on a lot of levels.  My grandmother was my best friend, and now she’s dead.  As a writer, I often think about all the stories I’ll never know.  Even if I had written them down all the time, there’s no way to fit a lifetime of stories into a few chances to write them down.  So I totally get it that Jacob wanted to know – the stories he thought were just stories, well, they sorta came true when he saw his grandfather and the creature that did it.

He makes it to the island, and what he finds there is less than expected.  There’s one pub/bar/restaurant in town, and the only rooms available are upstairs.  Jacob takes one and his father, who leaves him alone to work on a birding book, the other.  There’s not much else.

He’s introduced to another kid on the island, who’s supposed to show him around but doesn’t want to take him to the orphanage where his grandfather lived, although he eventually gets to it.  The bombed out shell of a house that stands in testament to the events of 9-3-40 and all that happened there.  The only thing remaining that even hints anyone used to live there is a trunk full of old photos that somehow hasn’t turned to mold or dust in the past 60-ish years.

The peculiar children his grandfather always talked about.  Kids with talents akin to a Ringling Brother’s side show.

I can’t talk too much about what happens after that.  I really don’t want to ruin the story for anybody.  I think the thing that got me on this one is how different they are, but also how the same they are too.  Yes, the book talks extensively about these children, but the way they’re presented is awesome.

I don’t want to scare you off.  This isn’t a book about the circus; its not a book about freaks.  It’s about love and protection and the people that matter in your life.

Read the book.  It’s an incredible story, well told, and the characters are awesome.  And, seriously, consider buying the book.  I love the layout with the sepia dividers and grainy black and white photographs (true photographs!) throughout.  This is seriously a five star book.

When you finish, tell me what you think.  I can’t decide if I want a sequel or not.  On one hand, I will always want more, and it leaves you with several more stories to tell.  On the other hand, the book is magic, and I wouldn’t want anything that could spoil that.

Five out of Five pages for sure.

Advertisements

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ellisnelson
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 15:51:36

    Reading this one now and really liking it!

    Reply

  2. Mandi M. Lynch, author
    Feb 26, 2013 @ 21:08:03

    Ellis – make sure you check out his non-fiction book as well. It’s about his photography collection and gives some cool background for this.

    Reply

  3. Katherine Coble
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 09:49:24

    I feel bad for disagreeing but I just really didn’t care for this book at all. It may be because of the Welsh setting, and my extreme sensitivity about Wales in general, but this was one I didn’t like. I’m glad you enjoyed it, though.

    Reply

  4. Trackback: Book Review – Tales of the Peculiar | Book In The Bag

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: