This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I have had this on my list ever since I saw the cover. How could you resist this, along with the title?

I was on the library wait list for awhile and when I got the book, I was just as delighted to read this book. Not only because it was a good, quirky story but the book itself is 'nice': the font and the pages (this is the hardback) are easy to read. There is a flourish to the page numbers are the bottom of the pages. And there are pictures.

Ransom Riggs (cool name, eh?) apparently created the story from actual pictures. It was interesting, to me, that this novel is a YA (young adult) novel and, originally, this novel was supposed to be a children's picture book. But if you were to see the picture's in this book, um, I don't think you'd want your children to see them because they are creepy, to say the least. If you look closely at the picture on the cover of the book included here, the little girl is floating above the ground. There are many more similar creepy pictures. MiMi enjoyed, well, in that creepy, fearful way, looking through the pictures of this book.

But the story itself is not creepy. It's quite inventive and impressive how Riggs wrapped a story into these pictures, which makes me love this novel more.


The novel centers around 16 year old Jacob, who's grandfather Abe is murdered. Well, Jacob is the only one who _thinks_ his grandfather is murdered, as he sees a strange creature in the woods where his grandfather is found. A man with tentatacles coming out of his mouth.

Everyone else thinks it was an animal and Jacob undergoes psychiatric care. After all, Grandpa Abe was also loony-tunes. He told tales of peculiar children from his childhood: children who could levitate, make fire out of the balls of their hands, were invisible. And they believed that Jacob's attachment to his grandfather led him to grieve in this manner.

As part of the grieving process for Jacob, his psychiatrist recommended that his family allow him to go to Grandpa Abe's childhood home: Cairnholm Island. Abe was an orphan and the home he grew up in was on this island. The home has since been destroyed since WWII but perhaps, closure could be found for Jacob. So Jacob and his dad travel to this island near Wales.

Jacob finds the ruins of the home. But he also ends up finding the peculiar children. How? Through a "loop". He ends up being able to go back and forth, between September 3rd, 1940 (the day the house blows up) and the present time). He meets Emma, the love of Grandpa Abe (and now his own), who can make fire with her hands, Miss Peregrine herself, Millard the Invisible Boy, Olive, the levitating girl, and so many other peculiar children. It's a wonderful life of goose dinner, lazing the day away in the sun, never really moving away from September 3rd, 1940, because it loops that day over and over. And Jacob can stay, because he is peculiar too: he can see the monsters. But he's torn between leaving the 21st century and his family, or staying in one day, with Emma.

But in the 21st century, sheep, and now people, are dropping like flies. And it's carrying over into 1940. Ymbrynes, which is what Miss Peregrine is, are those headmistresses that can turn into a bird (Peregrine!), travel through time, and make time loops, are being kidnapped by wights to create some big reactor to make them (wights) better at time-looping to take over the world (or something like that...). Needless to say, they don't accomplish this, with the help of Jakob and Emma and a few others.

It ends with the the time loop being destroyed, the day turning into September 4th, 1940, the home on Cairnholm Island being destroyed, Miss Peregrine being stuck as a bird, Jacob saying goodbye to his dad, and the children (and Jacob) searching for a new home and time loop. It isn't sad; it's a new beginning. The picture at the end is poignant.

I love how Riggs worked the story into the pictures. He's a blogger. I thought the story with the pictures was how a blogger would write. And I mean that very complimentary. I am no novelist. And I am not an amazing blogger. But I could relate to his writing.

Two quotes from the story I kept that I liked. First: the Priest Hole is the bar that Jacob and his dad stayed at (top floor) when they arrived at Cairnholm Island.

From Jacob:
I slammed out of the Priest Hole and started walking, heading nowhere in particular. Sometimes you just need to go through a door.
Also from Jacob, and this comes at the end of the novel, after he says goodbye to his father and he starts his journey with his friends:
I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was. 

1 comment:

  1. Wish you could have come to our book club meeting about it. We all really enjoyed it! Elise, my 10 year old, read it and loved it too. Did you know he is writing a sequel?