On the cover is a small girl, stiff as a board, levitating a few feet from the ground. For years I walked past this peculiar cover thinking some strange horror story was locked inside. It was something about children, children in a home with a woman named Miss Peregrine and for years that’s all I knew. And every time I passed the book I would think Someday… Maybe I’ll read it.
That day did not come until a week ago when I saw that Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was being made into a movie with a trailer just released. The trailer was filled with fantastical children and what looked like a great glimpse of a grand adventure. I saw this trailer and thought that it was time to put my Barnes & Noble gift card to use and experience the magic myself.
I’ve linked the video for those who haven’t seen it.
After reading the novel I now see that there are several problems with this trailer.
You see that scene right at the beginning, the one where the girl blows the air in the ship, well she’s the wrong girl and that’s not really how that scene was supposed to go. He’s supposed to like girl who can set fire to things, not girl who can fly. There’s a difference.
But while the trailer and the book differ on some key things, the book was great and the movie looks like it will be pretty good too. It’s just going to have to be one of those movies you watch while pretending that all the little and big details aren’t completely wrong. It’s a good test of letting things go. You know, finding Zen and all.
The book is about a boy named Jacob who grows up hearing about his grandfather’s extra-ordinary, over-the-top childhood eventually thinking, like everyone else, that no one can have that magical of a life filled with friends who have extra mouths and can create fire in their palm.
Surely he must be lying.
It’s when he’s grandfather dies that he finally realizes that all his grandfather’s stories of his childhood weren’t fictional tales at all but real life marvels. There really is a girl who can create fire in her palm and another with a second mouth. Jacob gets to meet all these people and more as he discovers his grandfather’s past, his hidden talent, and with the unveiling of secrets comes the unveiling of the real life monsters that threaten all of Miss Peregrine’s children.
I didn’t expect this book to take its time introducing the world of Miss Peregrine and her children but it did. We spend a great portion of the beginning with the narrator in therapy over the death of his grandfather. This book also takes its time with introducing the danger that results in the ending conflict. Most of the book is finding out if the children are real and then really exploring the world in which the children live in. I wasn’t expecting this.
I think that the concept of how the children stay young for an infinite amount of time is really intriguing and sets up the next books for a million different possible adventures. I also love that the element of the War World II is thrown in a little. I’m not sure how much that comes into play in the next book but there’s definitely quite a few possibilities.
There’s a lot of intriguing things happening in this novel from a historical context, the journey both physical and mental, to the age suspended children and Miss Peregrine who keeps them in a strange paradise where to leave is to die.
Also: Worth mentioning is the pictures throughout the story. They play a major role throughout and are really pretty interesting all on their own. I think the way the author collected all the photographs is really great.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in the first of a three book series.
The movie comes out September 30th, 2016.