"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs

miss-peregrine11

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Published by Quirk Books, 7th june, 2011
Genre: Young Adult General Fiction
Number of Pages: 352

A remote island, an orphanage in ruins, a weird photograph collection… The book starts with a bang!  Narrative is simple, fast paced, and old photos blend with it in such a way that chills run down the spine as the story begins to unfold…

BUT once the mystery of the house is explained, there is nothing much left.

The leading character, Jacob,  decides to visit a little island where his grandfather lived after escaping the nazis. Once over there, discovers a “time-loop” and enters into a parallel world where the clock starts and resets eternally on September 3, 1940.  The inhabitants are children with certain capabilities that makes them unique. Promising, eh?

Not quite. Although a magical place and a cast of of strange yet endearing supporting characters, the rest of the story ends up being a classic and childish cliché: monsters that come out at night, say boo and children that run for their lives.

Positives:

  • Narrative is effective, simple, precise.
  • Brilliantly illustrated:

According to Los Angeles Times , Riggs started contacting the big guns in the found photography world, including Robert E. Jackson, a collector whose photos were featured in a show at the National Gallery. Jackson and others opened up their archives to Riggs and allowed him to borrow whatever images he needed (a list of images and the collections they are from are in the back of his book).  After looking at close to a 100,000 photos, he eventually amassed a pool of 300 to 400  usable pictures and whittled that down to the 44 images he used in the book.

  • The story ends with an unresolved note paving the way to a sequel.

Negatives:

  • “YA Mystery Novelette”  publicized/promoted as “Terrifying Fantasy Novel”
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