The following is in response to Ransom Rigg’s book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
The fifteenth book that I read this year was Miss Peregrine’s School For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. After having read the very dirty and adult Fight Club, I decided to read this with the assumption that it would be more lighthearted and juvenile. Boy did I judge a book by its cover! This book is not a kids story like I thought, indicated from the very beginning by the language used. The conversations between Jacob, the young protagonist, and his best friend Ricky was often filled with expletives. Jacob’s grandfather cursed as well, screaming “goddamnit” over the phone. Besides Jacob giving someone the finger and swiping one of his dad’s beers, this book is far from a “kid’s book.” The priest hole, the hotel that Jacob and his father stay in, is often referred to as the “piss hole.”
The great thing about this novel is the pictures of the peculiar children. It’s kind of weird for an author to give us visual; for the most part the reader has to use their imaginations, coupled with the descriptions in the book of course, to see the characters in their mind’s eye. But these characters aren’t the ordinary wizard or furry-footed hobbit that we can easily draw up in our heads. No, these characters are peculiar and with the images we can get a better image of what they look like.
Riggs gives Jacob a complicated relationship with his grandfather of which he describes brilliantly when Jacob is faced with questioning whether is grandfather was an adulterer and a bad father: “To have endured all the horrors that he did, to have seen the worst of humanity and have your life made unrecognizable by it, to come out of all that the honorable and good and brave person I knew him to be—that was magical. (p. 92)”
This book is packed with amazing images—aside from the pictures scattered throughout the book—that really make the story magical. Jacob and one of the peculiar children, Emma, dive into the sea to climb aboard a sunken ship. The darkness in the water was juxtaposed to the universe, and it turned out to be my favorite bit of imagery in the entire book (p. 242-243). All in all, it was a good read!