Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Miss Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publish Date: June 7, 2011
Note: Lots and lots of spoilers here. If you don't want to know, don't read it!!
Doesn't the cover picture just creep you out? That picture and the title are the biggest reasons I finally bought this book. I was very excited about it - a good old fashioned scary book, with scary children. The photos scattered throughout the book are amazing - I adore weird old photos like these.
The story began well enough - Grandpa always told Jacob stories and Jacob believed them until he was older and his parents 'set him straight'. Then he just thought good old Grandpa was a crazy old Polish war veteran. Then Grandpa dies and Jacob thinks he might be the crazy one. See, I liked that part.
What I didn't like:
1 - Jacob's best friend. I'm not sure why it even needed noting that Jacob had a friend. He's there for a scene or two, it's noted that they aren't really friends, then he's never mentioned again. I feel that the author went to a lot of trouble to describe him and his car and their relationship to just ditch him. I really felt like he did all that and then couldn't fit him into the story, so just let him wander off.
2 - Jacob didn't come across as a 17 year old. I would have guessed maybe 12. There was nothing, except his car and job, that said he was an older teen. The Peculiar children come across as younger too - I know they all appear to be younger, but are really older, but you would think that they would ACT older anyway.
3 - The love story. Jacob meets a girl, Emma, and falls for her. She seems to fall for him too. But seriously, who is she really falling for - Jacob or his Grandpa?! Ick. I mean, she's Grandpa's age, but looks Jacob's age and he looks like Grandpa, so what the heck, she'll take him? And he's ok with that too? It was too weird for me.
I felt like the story did better before we meet the peculiar children than afterward. I was disappointed. Once we met them, the story should have taken off. I wanted, and felt promised, a creepy, weird and ghostly story. I got magic and timeloops and confused writing. Now, I love magic and timeloops, but not when I'm expecting something else. Hold on, wait a minute. That's not entirely true either. I don't even mind that happening if it's done in a cohesive amazing manner where it all flows and makes sense.