Nothing is as it seems in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs; published by Quirk Books, Philadelphia, 2011; 348 pages.

Jacob’s life seems ordinary enough.  His mother has a career that keeps her away from home and his father can’t seem to finish a project.  He has only one friend, and that seems to be based on mutual need.  The only person that means anything to the 16 year old is his grandfather, Abraham Portman.  Their bond grew threw the years as Grandpa Portman shared his collection of bizarre pictures, supposedly images of other children he grew up with at Miss Peregrine’s Home for children in Wales, a sort of safe harbor for children during the horrors of World War II.  With his grandfather’s grisly death in the woods behind his Florida home, Jacob sets off for Wales to inspect the home and try to come to terms with the truth about Abraham’s past.  What Jacob discovers bends reality and obliterates time.  His life has become extraordinary.

I once spent weekends combing through boxes of old, old photos at flea markets with a long-gone boyfriend.  We liked to find the most absurd, scary, silly and strange images and make up stories.  If I knew then….  Ransom Riggs has combined some of those creepy images with a mind-bending tale of good vs. evil.  Without the images, the book would be just another atmospheric tale set somewhere in the Twilight Zone.  With the images, the creep factor is cranked up a notch.  Riggs’ writing is formal, like the memoirs of an old man; and for telling Abraham’s and Jacob’s stories, the style fits perfectly.  Add end pages that mimic old books and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is the complete, creepy package.

Not convinced about the weird creepiness of this book?  Tim Burton is rumored to be interested in directing a movie version and a screenwriter has signed on. lists the project as “in development” and its release is expected in 2013.

4P     4Q     Grade Level: 10+

Cover Art: An image from the body of the book is on the cover, with more displayed on the back.  Creepy.  And the font used in the title is at once old-timey and Stephen King-creepy.  Perfection.

From Reading List: The Way It Could Be (Science Fiction or Fantasy)


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