A/N: (Slight) spoilers ahead!
‘Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children’, by Ransom Riggs is a novel that I’d seen all over Tumblr, everything from reviews to book photography, snaps of the cover and pages within the book itself. At first, it was just a book on my reading list. And now, it’s one of my favourites. I finished the first installment in three days. I could not put the book down. Drawn in by Jacob, the book’s protagonist and his unique, relatable and sarcastic view of life, the reader follows him through his journey, from a typically mundane life, to something exciting, adventurous, extraordinary and well, peculiar.
Jacob, like many children look up to the adults in their lives, for him, as a young boy he’d looked up to his grandfather and the strange tales he’d tell. Children are highly intelligent and far more intuitive than adults give them credit for, and as a child, Jacob was just like this. He believed his grandfather for a while, but soon began to question things. The stories he heard sounded absurd, a boy who could lift boulders with his bare hands, a girl who could create fire with her fingertips, a girl with a mouth on the back of her head and a young man who appeared invisible to everyone. Jacob soon came to realise that just as Father Christmas was make belief, so were his grandfather’s tales.
That is, until the terrible happened.
While not totally believing in his grandfather’s stories, there is a part of Jacob that wishes for the extraordinary to be real. I think we all do sometimes, for a break from reality. Fantastical adventures always seem so exciting to those trapped in a life of routine and boredom. His grandfather is plagued with nightmares of the things he’d seen – both being a soldier during World War Two and having seen ghastly horrors on the front lines, but also due to the very real, frightening and strange monsters that hunt peculiars down. It is only after he passes, does Jacob discover the truth.
Everything his grandfather said was real.
All those people and their abilities, they were real and had been a part of his grandfather’s childhood, in a strange home, away from his family. While his family was trapped under the Nazi rule, Abe, Jacob’s grandfather, was battling his own demons, at a place he soon came to call home. Abe had left Miss Peregrine’s home and went to fight in the war, battling both peculiar monsters and Nazi’s themselves. He felt like he needed to defend his own kind and humankind, after that he became a hunter, of the supernatural kind. Jacob had always wondered what his grandfather’s life had been like and now he knew, except they were all gone.
Or so, Jacob thinks. The unexpected happens when a young girl, about Jacob’s age stumbles upon him at the wreckage site that once had been Miss Peregrine’s home. Thus, Jacob’s life takes a turn into the strangely wonderful. We are swept along with Jacob for the journey and I wouldn’t want to spoil anything else that happens, because it really is a book you need to read.
I’m already on the second and wishing I was a little bit peculiar myself. Then again, in different ways, we all are, aren’t we?