I really wasn't too sure what to expect from Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, yet once I began the strange tale, I found that I could not stop reading it. This book, the first in the trilogy and also a film, should be and will be devoured. It is not only a tale of magick and wonder, but also of great sadness, and a look upon that most frail of all things - the human condition.
Jacob Portman is a sixteen year old boy who has no idea what he wants in his life. The only goal in his life so far is to get fired from his job, the one that, unfortunately, he has due to his wealthy and somewhat neglectful mother. He has one friend and Life does not appear to be anything spectacular. However, he has a strong connection with his granddad, a teller of stories about his younger days. When Jacob was little, his granddad would tell him stories about a peculiar place he used to live in, a place in which girls could levitate off the ground, or boys who had bees living inside of them, or invisible boys who refused to wear clothes. When Jacob answers a call made by his frantic granddad, he goes to his house and finds him dead in the woods. Suddenly, the stories from the past have returned and Jacob must travel to Wales to discover just why they have returned and, more importantly, learn that they never died.
This book, laden with vintage photographs, is an excellent read for young adults and adults who refuse to stop believing in that which can not be explained. When I reached the explanation for the Peculiar Children, my head began to swim with ideas - a lot of what ifs. The story, told from the perspective of Jacob, shows a progression from wallflower kid with no life to one who shows confidence, acceptance, and a willingness to believe. His father is a man who spends his time working on ornithology projects that he knows will never be finished; he never had the closeness with his father as Jacob did with him. It feels as though the magick skipped him completely and therefore, keeps him "stuck" in his own limiting world. Yet Jacob refuses to just "walk away" from what has been handed to him. He takes it, understands it, and even makes it his own. That's what every true hero does in one way or another.
Bravo to Mr. Riggs for writing such an exquisite book. I look forward to returning to this world soon with Hollow City.