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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs



Highlights: The main character, Jacob, finds a strength within himself to accept who he really is.
Synopsis: Jacob Portman realizes the old stories his grandfather used to tell him about peculiar children and monsters were actually true.
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An addictive read from the first page. Author Ransom Riggs draws you into the story with little peeks at the wondrously peculiar world that just might be out there.


Jacob's only friend in his common life, Ricky, abandoned him when he needed him the most.

Posted August 25, 2014 by

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VictorJacob’s grandfather had been telling stories of peculiar children and fighting monsters as long as he could remember, even pulling out old pictures to go with each story: Victor and his sister Bronwyn, who were so strong they could lift boulders over their head;, invisible Millard; and levitating Olive. At one point, as children do, Jacob’s belief waned and he realized they were really just stories, and that the pictures he had looked so many times were nothing more than fakes. By the time he was 16, Jacob loved his grandfather dearly, but feared for his mental stability. One day while at work Jacob received a frantic call from his grandfather in the midst of a paranoid attack that sent him racing over to his grandfather’s house. What he found would change everything.

Trying to retain a shred of sanity, Jacob follows some very obscure clues to the very remote and isolated Cairnholm Island in Wales, where he comes face to face with the truth about his grandfather’s stories, realities grander than any story could have captured, and the hellish nightmares that threaten the lives of these peculiar children.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, his debut novel, remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 63 weeks for a reason: it introduces a wondrously horrific world of splendor and terror. Riggs formed this colorful world of imagined characters around strange and unusual black-and-white flea market photographs incorporated throughout the novel, bringing a whole new level of realism to this fantasy world existing in and around us common people.

Riggs has a background in cinematography, and it shines through in his character and event development. From the introduction to Jacob in his ordinary mundane life, contrasting with the dreary hopelessness of Cairnholm, until the moment Jacob finds his way into the beautiful truth of his grandfather’s stories, Riggs manipulates readers’ emotional responses in such subtle ways that it feels natural to feel depressed with the character, or excited and anxious.

Following the book is a great conversation with the author where he answers some very interesting questions. He discusses how Jacob’s story evolved from a Ralph Waldo Emerson-influenced style to one impacted greatly by the black-and-white photos. Riggs states “Emerson often speaks about the possibility of fantastic things that exist just out of view, and many of his most famous quotes almost seem to refer directly to the peculiar children.”

” The power which resides in him is new in nature and none but he know what that is which he can do, nor does he know until  he has tried.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (1841)

I am immediately off to read Riggs’s sequel, Hollow City, which was released earlier this year.

These books do have me wondering, if I was “peculiar,” what would my talent would be? What about you?  What would you want your peculiar talent to be?

Rachel Storey

Software engineer by day, bookworm by night. I love reading. I love writing about reading. I love talking about writing about reading. I joined Bookkaholic to have great conversations about literature, so please feel free to leave comments and discussions.


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