Book Review: 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' by Ransom Riggs
When my daughter brought home Ransome Riggs's novel Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, I took one look at the cover and thought, "Oh, no. That's creepy. That's weird. That will keep me up at night. It will have me checking the closets for ghouls before I shut the lights."
But my dad bought it for my daughter, and the little gold pretend-sticker on the cover said it was on the New York Times's best-seller list. And the freaky photos are cool. And my daughter is the very person who recommended the life-changing The Hunger Games to me just by not putting it down.
So I had to read it, and I did.
Riggs tells the story of Jacob, a loner and a bit of a misfit son of well-to-do parents whose grandfather dies a sudden and horrific death.
With the support of his oddball shrink, he convinces his parents he needs to go to Wales for a break following the death.
In fact, he goes there to get to the bottom of his grandfather's gruesome end. There, he travels through time to discover the inhabitants of a World War II-era orphanage who are like him. They have some special gift that sets them apart from the rest of humanity. They live outside of time in the world of September 3, 1941, which day repeats itself daily after the daily ritual annhiliation--until the disturbance to end all disturbances.
Miss Peregrine's mythic world is a place of acceptance, kindness, love, and structure. In such a world, magic is possible--including the magics of love and friendship and safety--because people are taken as they are for who they are.
Jacob is faced with the choice between the world outside time where he is understood and accepted or the other, human world where things are familiar and normal but he is seen as different, as a project to be dealt with rather than a human to be nurtured.
What is normal, and what's worth having, and what shape does love take? This book will leave you asking these questions--and unafraid of the peculiar photos that invite you into another way of looking at life.
Jacob is in good company with those other literary heroes who challenge who we are, where we are, and what all we're making of being there. Percy Jackson, Ponyboy Curtis, Meg Murry, and Shadow, make room for Jacob.