Friday, September 30, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

    Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, the book's cover read in wavery chalkboard style letters.  I stared at the faintly Gothic photograph that made up the cover. A young girl in a paper crown and a melancholy expression floated a foot above the ground. Behind her, skeletal trees stood tall. Intrigued, I opened up the book and began to read.

    Six-year old Jacob Portman is enraptured by his grandfather's stories of a magical home where children with peculiar powers lived.
Ten years later, Jacob still longs for his grandfather's stories to take him away from a seemingly inescapable fate of working in the family-owned drugstore for the rest of his life. It appears that crafting the Empire State building from diapers is the closest he'll ever get to seeing faraway places.
   But when something attacks and kills Jacob's grandpa in the woods outside his home, everything changes. Jacob spotted the monster that took his grandfather's life, and it's a demon straight from his long ago bedtime stories. His parents' response is to take him to see a psychiatrist, but Jacob convinces his doctor to let him visit Wales, the place where his grandfather's stories took place.

And while he's there, he discovers that the monsters aren't the only things of his grandfather's stories that are true.

For me, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was a quick read. There's a pervading sense of urgency and immediacy that flavours the novel. The monsters are just shocking enough that you won't want to read this book alone at midnight, but not so shocking that you can't read it at, say, ten o'clock. The pictures scattered though the book are all found photography, and lend an air of antiquity and sadness to the novel. They, and the spotless prose, make this book well-worth a read.

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