Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

peculiar children1They said this story was a horror story, so I expected an imaginary thriller; full of horror and danger. But, I was not scared at all. This is a book of fantasy/adventure combined with the creepy old images of peculiar children. The vintage images in this book are haunting and setting the tone perfectly. The mystery is creative, eerie, chilling, and rich in detail. It made the book better than I ever thought it would be. I am glad I made time to sit down and start the journey.

Abraham Portman, Jacob’s grandfather, has been telling Jacob stories of his childhood, where he lived in an orphanage in the war,  safe and sound, guarded by the ‘bird’. Seizing out an old album, Abraham tells Jacob of those who lived there with him long time back. He shows Jacob a picture of an invisible boy, the clothes floating in a thin air, a girl with a crown floating over the ground, a boy holding up a gigantic boulder as if it is nothing, and a picture of a face ‘painted’ on the back of someone’s head. “Had two mouths, but the paint was fake,” Abraham says. Then Grandpa Portman starts telling him stories of the monsters he hunts down. Monsters, with tentacles, invisible only for their shadow in the night, monsters, that would kill you.

Sixteen-year-old-Jacob wants to believe, but, as he grows older, the believe starts to wash away – like kids now days, in the hope of clinging their wish to think that the tooth fairy still exists. Then, as he goes home from work one day, he finds his grandfather, already old, dead, in the woods. Just as the paramedics rush in, Jacob spots a horrific monster prowling the scene. His parents think he is mad when he reports what he saw to them. They sends him to a psychology center with this doctor, Doctor Golan. Jacob tells everything he knows to Doctor Golan, who suggests Jacob to go to the island where his dying grandfather had described. In there, what Jacob finds out is a lot scarier than not finding out. Thus, the adventure begins.

It is there he discovers that all his grandfather’s delightfully insane stories are true. What’s more, the very same children in the photographs are alive and well, hidden because they are just as threatened as they are dangerous. They’re threatened by mysterious, awful creatures called hollowgasts. The problem is, these childen can’t see them. In fact, only Jacob’s grandfather could. As it happens, so can Jacob.

Jacon soon discovers the time-ravaged remains of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an orphanage for outcasts with strange attributes and abilities. Among this cast of characters is Emma, a human torch who can hold a ball of fire in her hand; Enoch, a little bruiser who can animate toy soldiers with the hearts of mice; Olive, a levitating girl who must be belted into her chair at dinner, lest she float away; and Claire, who has a “backmouth,” which is exactly what it sounds like–she has a second mouth in the back of her head.

I feel that this story could relate to the series ‘Harry Potter’, as the ‘peculiar’ children and ‘wights’ are there – in the human world, blending in but we never take a notice of anything. In Harry Potter, every magical things are blended in too, making us, ordinary people are never suspecting a thing,  such as “the strange man with white eye-balls” whom we think as blind.

The picture in the book are vintage found photographs. With the exception of the few, it have undergone minimal alteration. These mixtures are found in bins, old shops, flea markets, yard sales, antique malls, and are revived to a work of art. In an interview with the author, Ransom Riggs, he described that he had collected a ton of the photos. He is sure some would find their way into future books, while others would remain orphans.

This book’s biggest vice? It’s a first-of-a-series book. It means I have to think if I decide to invest my time to read the series while I already have a commitment to the other series-books. Not to mention I have to ask my mother to buy the second book.

Ransom Riggs is an American Writer and film maker best known for this book. He was born in Maryland at a-200-year-old-farm, and grew up in Florida where he entered the Pine View School for the Gifted. He studied English Literature at Kenyon Collage, and studied film at the University of Southern California.

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