Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: The Good Writing Makes This Book

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Version: Library ebook borrow

I saw the movie Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children directed by Tim Burton, so I decided I should read the book. Usually, the book is full of greater insights into the tale and has more depth and you get to know the characters better. Not so here.

For well into the first three-quarters of the book the movie and the book track nearly identically. It's the story of the boy who has grown up being told the most fantastic stories by his grandfather, and when his grandfather dies a mysterious and horrific death and tells him he must seek out a teacher from earlier in his life, the boy goes to Wales with his father to seek her out. When he gets there, initially all he finds is an old ruin of a home for peculiar children. But upon further investigation he finds a portal to the past and visits both the teacher and the peculiar children, and in doing so he discovers the answer to the mystery of his grandfather's death and why his grandfather was insistent on his seeking out the teacher. We meet the wonderful teacher and the very interesting children. And we meet the beasts at whose hands the boy's grandfather meets his death, who want to kill the teacher, the peculiar children, and the boy.

It's the last quarter of the book where the story diverges from the movie. There is no gigantic battle scene at a seaside entertainment midway. And there is no emotional reunion with the grandfather at the end. But there is more to the romance with the grandfather's former peculiar love interest, which is this case is the girl who can light fire with her hands and not the girl who can fly. And the book includes all the peculiar photos which inspired the writing of the book in the first place. (Note: In creating an ebook out of an original book file, it isn't always easy to include images and graphics. It was integral to story, so bravo to Riggs for including them!)

I think we can blame the lack of additional depth to this series of stories being in the young adult or teen genre, which tend to be shorter, less complex stories. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, however, is well written, with wonderful descriptions and imaginative passages. It's worth the read just for that. There are sequels to this book. I'm not a fan of horror or peculiar stories, so I haven't decided whether to read them, but if you want to read good writing, I suggest you give this book and the others a try.

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