Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was published in 2011 by writer and filmmaker Ransom Riggs. The story is about a boy named Jacob Portman who finds out the fantasy stories his grandfather used to tell him were actually reality and the adventure Jacob goes on to find out the truth.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was a delightful surprise. I had never heard of it until I saw the trailer for the movie, but I ended up not watching the movie, and not reading the book until earlier this week.
This story took me a few minutes to get into it, but once I got hooked, I really couldn’t put it down. The book is almost four hundred pages and I finished it in two days. A unique aspect of this book is that while it’s not a picture book or a children’s book, it is full of vintage photographs that enhance the story and are actually a part of the story-telling. The photographs are real photos, though some have been slightly altered.
One of the most surprising things I liked about this book was the writing style. It didn’t read the way I’ve experienced other young adult novels to read, with plain stripped language, and childish, and in a lot of ways I’ve found rather off-putting and distracting. That’s not Ransom Riggs’s writing style at all. It was so rich with descriptive language and beautiful at times.
For instance, this colorful description of a sun-setting, “the sky was turning the color of a fresh bruise…” Reading that, I could see in my mind what the sky looked like, bluish purple with maybe a hint of red. Writing like this, while it may seem simple, to me is perfect.
Another feature that I found delightful was using different creative words to describe things we already have our own words for. For instance, the flesh-eating creatures are not called zombies, though they are human beings who eat other humans, they’re called wights. For another, one of the characters who can give life to dead things, he’s not called a necromancer, but a dead-riser. Another character who can summon fire at will, she’s not a fire-starter or a pyrokinetic, but a spark.
All of these aspects are part of the threads that spun into a great read. This book is perfect for readers who want an adventure/discovery story that’s a little off the beaten path. Jacob sets out to find out who is grandfather is, and instead discovers who he is. I definitely recommend this book.