For this post, I’m particularly sad that the “Add Media” button on WordPress is not working, because pictures would really, really enhance what I’m about to say. Do a quick Google image search when you’re finished reading this to get a better idea of just how creepy/awesome this book is.
I recently finished the book “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” I cannot tell you how many times I picked this book up off of shelves in random stores, thumbed through it, then put it back, not entirely sure if it’d be my sort of book. There was something about it, though, that made me keep coming back to wonder about it again. It was most likely a combination of the title (peculiar is such an intriguing word, particularly when speaking of children), the cover photo (haunting, yet inviting somehow), and the fact that the author’s name is “Ransom” (who names their child Ransom?). After reading that book #2 had been released, and that it was just as awesome as book #1, I thought perhaps I’d missed out on something in not reading it. So, off I went to the library’s audiobook collection, hoping and praying it was available for download. And it was! I started in on listening to it just after I finished “You Belong to Me.”
This book was AWESOME. It was the perfect combination of fact and fiction, intertwined and written in such a way that the lines between each began to blur the further into the book I got. It starts with a boy, Jacob, and his grandfather, Abe, who have a great relationship. The grandfather tells the boy of his childhood on an island with peculiar children, sharing stories of the children and their abilities, and showing him old pictures featuring these kids. Jacob, while young, finds his grandfather’s stories magical and exciting, yet as he gets older he becomes somewhat cynical, thinking his grandfather made it all up, and that the pictures were doctored somehow to make normal kids look like oddities. Then, one night, Jacob encounters his grandfather just after his death, when the “perpetrator” is still around. I won’t go into more detail than that, because I don’t want to give anything away. The only thing worth knowing is that at that point, Jacob second-guesses his jaded view of his grandfather’s stories, and begins to wonder if perhaps there’s some truth to them…or if they could possibly be completely true?
Of course, his family thinks he’s lost it because of his newfound interest in the fantastical stories that the grandfather used to tell. But, Jacob is captivated. He decides to go to the island where his grandfather spent his childhood to see about all of these stories for himself. His parents agree to allow him to go, so long as his father goes with him. His father is a bird expert, and is excited about the strange breeds of birds that are rumored to live on this island. This leaves Jacob with plenty of unsupervised time to do some investigation. While out trying to dig up some information on this home that his grandfather lived at, he learns that all of the residents of the home died in a bombing during WWII, and that no one has gone near the home since. He’s distraught at this information, since he had been hoping to speak to someone who either had lived at the home, or – even better – someone currently living there. He finds himself confused though – if all the residents died, then how did his grandfather make it out alive? While searching for more answers, he comes across a type of “portal” that brings him to the past. This part of the story is really quite fun to read/listen to, so I’ll breeze over it in an attempt to not ruin anything for you, should you decide to read the book. Basically, he meets the children that his grandfather lived with – the real children, who are not made-up silly stories. He befriends them, and in doing so, begins to learn more about them, as well as himself. After a series of events which end up causing some serious trouble, Jacob has to decide if he’d like to go back to the world in present-day, or if he’d rather stay with the new community he has become a part of. This is where the book ends, and book #2, “Hollow City” picks up. I have yet to read book #2, but cannot wait to get started on it. The first book ends with a rather open ending, and I’m very interested in what happens next.
In other exciting news related to this terrific book – Tim Burton is directing a movie version of it, due out in July of 2015!!
The news story is here (sorry, WordPress is also not letting me link properly…ugh) – http://www.hypable.com/2013/06/22/tim-burton-to-direct-miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-children-slated-for-july-2015/
It also features a short video that was filmed to promote the book, not the movie – but I think it gives a bit of a foreshadowing as to how awesome the movie could be. The book certainly was incredible!
I’m currently working on a Mother Teresa audiobook, since it’s Lent. I’m loving it, and am enjoying the change of pace. It’s really beautiful to hear Mother Teresa’s actual voice telling stories and sharing her insights. More on it later, of course.