Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar Children is about a sixteen year old boy called Jacob Portman who goes to a remote island after the death of his grandfather and discovers a crumbling orphanage run by Miss Peregrine, but a few mysteries involving the children begin to unfold and it turns out that they are all stuck in a one day time loop from 1940.
This book is the first of the Miss Peregrine book series and I only read this book because there is an upcoming film adaptation directed by Tim Burton and starring Asa Butterfield as the lead character. Regardless of the film, I started to read it knowing that it was part of a series, having seen them regularly on the shelves in WHSmith or in my friend’s book shop, and it was also part of the magical realism and fantasy genre, which is one of my favourite genres. It’s marketed like a children’s book, but it’s definitely for adults, and it is a dark book full of fantastic photographs. I love the narrative flow and when I’ve finished this book and maybe watched the film, I will read the rest of the series. It also combines photography and narrative as well. It’s as if the book has its own quirky personality that makes it different from all the other books, that are generally only typed words on a basic white page. The patterns on the start of every chapter are lovely and as an art student, I could incorporate similar patterns into my own work (without copying it).
I got so stuck into the book that I finished it in just under a day. I think the pictures helped, but the writer lets you use your own imagination, even though I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a continuous one day time loop due to the deja vu. It was a relief when they left the time loop, yet the book had an open ending so that it could move swiftly onto the next book in the series. I just wonder how it will adapt from page to screen.
Overall, a dark but quirky book with brilliant photographs, fantastic characters and a great narrative. It’s quite easy to follow too. You put down the book and it leaves you asking questions, not necessarily about whether or not it’s entertaining but of the fate of the characters. Are they dead? Is it his imagination? Or is he living off a thing that his grandpa told him about?