Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is, as I type this, being made into a movie by Tim Burton, who is probably the only person who could pull it off successfully.
The story is about Jacob Portman, whose grandfather, Abraham Portman, would tell him stories of the peculiar children in the orphanage in which he grew up during World War II. He had pictures of seemingly invisible boys, girls who could create fire, and a host of other side-show-esque talents. Eventually Jacob outgrew the stories and came to see them as fictions. Until his grandfather’s death when Jacob suddenly learns the truth of all those fantastical stories. What follows is an adventure, time-travel of sorts, monsters, battles, wits, and, most of all, peculiar children all being taken care of Miss Peregrine, either in her human or avian form.
The story is different, clever, and creative. What I find most fascinating about it, however, is how it came to be. Ransom Riggs, the author of the book, was an amateur photograph collector. He’d comb flea markets and garage sales and piles of what most of us would consider trash to find photographs he found striking for one reason or another. He used these real photographs (as well as ones from his collector friends) to weave together and illustrate the story. He does this seamlessly, which I’d imagine is no small feat. It would be hard to make all these disparate images come together in one coherent story, but Riggs does it. And there’s more to it than that: it’s a book about facing your fears, about choosing the right thing over the easy thing, and about love and loyalty.
It is written to be (and marketed as) a young adult book, but there is nothing childish about it. Most of the children in the book are actually 80 or more years old and, unlike the 200 year old teenagers in that horrific Twilight saga, they act like they’ve learned something in those 80 years. The good thing is that this is the first book in a trilogy, so you don’t have to say goodbye to everyone when you finish the book.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.