Monday, March 12, 2012

Abducted by Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

My friend Holly let me borrow Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ranson Riggs and I thought it was great!

It really felt to me that the book was two stories working together. Anyone who has read reviews or blurbs for this book, or even just looked at the cover, knows that the story involves children with this magical mystical side to them. But there is this whole other story line that dealt with families and secrets and loss.

The first half of the story is all about this boy, Jacob, who has a very...difficult...relationship with his grandfather. When he was a child Jacob looked up to his grandfather and loved to hear him tell stories about his past. Magical bizarre stories about an orphanage he stayed at when he was young, that was run by a Miss Peregrine. But as Jacob grows up their relationship becomes strained. There is still a deep bond between them, but one that weighs heavily on Jacob.

One day his grandfather calls Jacob in a panic, telling him that someone (or something) is after him. And when Jacob goes to check on him, he finds his grandfather beaten and wounded out in the woods. It seems to Jacob as if his grandfather has been attacked by a wild animal, but when he looks up he sees a creature off in the distance that he has never seen before.

This tragedy acts as the catalyst that sends Jacob to Wales on a journey to uncover the truth about his family.

Personally, this part of the story reminded me of the novel Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safron Foer. I mean the two stories are very different, but at their core they are about two boys trying to understand what happened to their ancestors during WWII. In Jacob's case, he is having to deal with the added quilt that he hadn't taken the time to talk to his grandfather when he should have.

The story line with the grandfather really got to me, because I'm still grieving over the loss of my grandfather almost 5 years ago. I spent a lot of time with him in the hospital and I thought we talked about everything, but there just seems to be so much more I wish I could ask him. So many stories he told me, but that I can't remember the way I feel I should.

So, I guess because of my own issues with my grandfather, I felt truly invested in the Jacob's journey to learn about his own. I was so captivated by that relationship that I kept having to remind myself that there was danger waiting for Jacob. That there were creatures looking for him and his family.

That of course leads into the second half of the story which is Jacob's discovery of Miss Peregrine and all of her peculiar children. A journey told through the use of these beautifully haunting photographs that were shared with us through out the story.

And from what I hear, the hardback copy of this book is the only way to go because the quality of the paper really makes a difference.

I'm excited that this book is going to have a sequel and I will definitely be reading it. I felt like certain parts of the ending were a little messy, but I also think that the messiness of it could leave the sequel open to a ton of options. And I do trust the Riggs enough to want to see which way he goes. My only real fear is about the pictures. The pictures played such a crucial part to this story and it is hard to imagine the next novel without them. However, I am afraid that it could get really redundant coming up with new ways for Jacob to find pictures and describe pictures and to be taking pictures.

I would say that the only thing that kept me from truly loving this novel was that the ending...well, it just kind of ended. Usually when I finish a novel that I loved I have this warm gooey excited optimistic resonating feeling, and this book just didn't have that for me. I really liked it and I was entertained by it, but when it was over I was able to close the book and immediately be like "Okay, what's next?"

I'm going to give Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children an abduction rating of...


Annette Mills said...

I just finished this book, and I felt the same way about the ending. As I was finishing, I kept thinking, there's not enough pages left to end this...and there wasn't. I guess that's what the next book is for...

Great review!

fakesteph said...

I wasn't sure if I was going to read this one, but now I think I am. I'm glad you liked it. John Green went to college with this guy, so I'm curious.

Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase said...

I so want to read this one! Maybe Holly will let me borrow it. But who knows when I'll get to it... Great review, Courtney, and I like your pictures, even though I don't really understand them. I guess I will once I read the book! ;)

Kimberly said...

I hate the non-ending ending! It's so frusterating. I still can't decide whether or not I want to read the book. There are so many other books I want to read more right now.

You totally deserve a blog award too! They are meant to be shared. :) I hope you enjoy your St. Patricks Day! Bummed you can't enjoy the day with Kate and I, but someday we will meet!

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