In recent narration projects I’ve gone from Jepp to Lemony Snicket and now Miss Peregrine and her charges. Not a bad run of books aimed at younger readers. The LOC annotation says this book written by first-time author Ransom Riggs is intended for senior high and older. So, that includes me, right?
I think so! Because I enjoyed this book very much. I’ve always liked stories that step outside the bounds of what we collectively believe to be reality into the realm of “what might be.” You want to call that fantasy? OK! But the trick to writing a story like this is stepping over the line without stretching the story’s credulity so far that the thread binding the reader to his or her own willing suspension of disbelief is pulled to the breaking point. I know that may be different for different readers.
For me, I have to say that Mr. Riggs did a nice job in putting together characters that I wanted to care about so that I stayed invested in this very entertaining tale. For example, his young protagonist Jacob Portman is a fully modern teenager with the attendant social angst, complex family relationships, and even a therapist to help him through tough times.
Does Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children break new ground? No. As many before him, Ransom Riggs borrows from old world folklore to support his plot devices and “unusual” characters. But he does it successfully.
I understand that there will be a sequel. That’s good news! In addition, it appears a movie based on this book is in the works. Those involved reportedly include 20th Century Fox, producers Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, and Jenno Topping, screenwriter Jane Goldman (adapting the book into a screenplay), and director Tim Burton. Whoever does it, I look forward to the movie.
Here’s a quick snippet from the book jacket –
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
Check out this trailer for the book (directed by Ransom Riggs) which may give us some ideas about the movie project under development.