Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
Published June 7th 2011 by Quirk Publishing
Like most storybook grandpas, Jacob’s grandfather was always good for a story or two and he was particularly good at spinning tales. His grandfather told him stories of the orphanage he grew up in and whose inhabitants had the most unusual traits. He told of a girl who could levitate and an invisible boy and of the bird who watched over them. He had pictures to go along with his stories; pictures of these magical children. Jacob’s grandfather even told him about the monsters.
But it was only kid’s stuff and as kids grow up, they stop believing.
Year later, the stories all but forgotten and the addled brained grandfather who spun the tales in a state of decline, Jacob sees his first monster. It’s the monster from his grandfather’s stories, and it’s every bit as real as his grandfather said it was. The stories are as real now as they were when he was six. The pictures, the orphanage- all of it has suddenly returned to him and it's made all the more believable by a letter from an odd little girl he forget he believed existed.
From the very moment that I saw the title of this book, I knew it was meant for me. How can you possibly resist a title like that? I love the world peculiar. It’s a magical word, with a quirky ring to it and one must tilt their head ever so slightly to the side in order to say it properly. It’s one of those words that makes being unusual and unique an admirable thing instead of a fault and it’s a perfect word for this little book. This book, with page after page of other glorious words, an unforgettable story and the most unusual use of photographs, is absolutely remarkable. That’s right, it is a picture book. Riggs doesn’t just tell you what his world and characters look like- he shows you. I'm in awe of everything about it. With all its different elements- mystery, fantasy, history, time travel, romance, it spans many genres.
Have you ever loved a story so much that you wish you hadn’t ever read it just so that you could experience the joy of the first reading again? I long for that with this book.
I can shamelessly admit that I dog-ear pages to mark particular passages in a book. If I get through a book without any little corner flips, it doesn’t mean that the story was any less remarkable but with nothing I want to remember, the writing was. This book, however, is riddled with creases. Corner after corner turned down in a polite curtsy in acknowledgement of the author’s superior storytelling. I want to remember every word.
Stars, too, were time travelers. How many of those ancient points of light were the last echoes of suns now dead? How many had been born but their light not yet come this far? If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize that we were alone? I had always known the sky was full of mysteries—but not until now had I realized how full of them the earth was.