Contented Reader

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Ransom Riggs

Quirk Books

How long have I been on the reserve list at the public library, waiting for this book?  Months and months.  I lost track of the time.  Certainly I’ve been waiting for my turn to read it since summer.

The thing that makes this book special is the photographs.  They are real vintage pictures, strange and haunting and beautiful, found by collectors and woven into the fabric of the novel.  They are camera tricks and sideshow performers and pictures that are just odd.  They make me want to start haunting antique stores and yard sales, picking through other people’s old photographs for treasures.

But the book does also have a plot.  Jacob’s grandfather told him stories about a special home for special children, children with strange powers, a place where he took refuge when he escaped from the monsters as a child.  When he is a little older, Jacob comes to understand that his grandfather’s stories are a metaphor, a way of explaining what it was like to live as a refugee from the Nazis, the only survivor of his Jewish family.  But when he is not very much older than that, Jacob slowly learns that his grandfather’s were not a metaphor after all, and goes to search for Miss Peregrine and the peculiar children she once cared for.

I don’t think it will be too much of a spoiler to tell you that he does find Miss Peregrine?

Or that the monsters are also real?

We look at other people’s family pictures, at strangers in the park, and we imagine who they are, what their stories are.  Riggs has taken that one step further, and made from his collection of photos a story that I think will haunt me for a long time.

In fact, I dreamed, last night, that I was wandering in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

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Written by Contented Reader

September 6, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Reviews

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