Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

by Ransom Riggs
October 2011

I chose this book solely because of the cover.  Well.. not only the cover, but the whole design of the book. I didn't even read the plot summary.  When I opened it up and saw pictures like these:

I knew I had to see what it was all about.

The book isn't a creepy horror story as the cover implies.  It does have a creep factor and a few kind of scary scenes, but it is mostly a fantasy adventure story.

Jacob has heard stories all his life about his grandfather's peculiar friends.  As a boy he believed in them. As a teenager, he naturally thinks that they are make believe.  As grandfather gets older he begins acting strange. He gets paranoid and talks about the monsters coming.  One day he calls Jacob frantically asking for the key to his gun case. Of course, Jacob's father hid the key to keep his elderly father from hurting himself. But grandfather is so frantic that Jacob goes over to his house. It's there that Jacob's life changes forever. He sees (or thinks he does) grandfather's monster. And he sees his grandfather mutilated and left for dead in the woods behind his house. Before finally succumbing, grandfather is able to say a few last words to Jacob. But they make not sense:

"Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man's grave. September third, 1940."

Later, in going through his grandfather's belongings Jacob comes across a letter and photographs of the very people from grandfather's stories. This leads Jacob on a personal quest to solve the mystery of the stories, the photos, the monster, and his grandfather's murder.

In the book's endnotes, Ransom Riggs says that he wrote the book after seeing strange old vintage photographs collected by some of his friends.  Supposedly, all of the photos in the book are authentic and not staged for the book.  That makes the book all the more interesting.
There could be a sequel, and I hope there is.  This was a really fun story and a fascinating book.

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