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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

I recently read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs. (Here's his blog.)

It's published by Quirk Press, and that's appropriate. It's a quirky book. The book began as a few old photos, but was expanded into a novel. It includes photos, from the collection of Riggs, and collected by others. They are interesting in themselves. According to the Wikipedia article on the book, an editor suggested that Riggs not publish a book of old photos, which was his original intention, but write a novel using the photos. The photos are reproduced in the book, and there are credits at the end.

The plot is summarized in the Wikipedia article, and I'll muse briefly about a couple of things. First, the book was on best-seller lists for some time -- it was certainly popular. Second, it was marketed to children, and, except for being spooky (let's put it this way -- Tim Burton plans to make a movie about it) is OK for them to read, in my opinion. It may teach them something about World War II. Third, a sequel is clearly intended. The book ends at a place that tells us that. Fourth, there is a definite conflict between good and evil in the book.

Last, the peculiarities. The book supposes that there are children with unusual powers. In fact, there have always been such children. In some societies, they have been welcomed. In many others, persecuted. The protagonist, Jacob, comes to know a number of these children, at Miss Peregrine's Home, and they are able to do many things, usually one per child, such as create light, pick up heavy objects, defy gravity, foretell the future, see monsters, and the like. Miss Peregrine, herself, is able to create a time loop, so that it's always the same calendar date. But she and the children do recognize this, and do age, in a sense. Well, you'll have to read the book to see what I mean.

A good book. It wasn't written to any certain formula. I enjoyed it.

I read this book through a 21st century (OK, I could have done it in the 20th, I guess) technological advance -- I borrowed the electronic edition from a public library. Thank God for libraries!

Thanks for reading. Read Riggs, if this sort of thing interests you.

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