Sunday, August 12, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children-Ranson Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children-Ranson Riggs

the facts
satisfaction: side
pages: 349
gender: M
nationality: USA
year: 2011
Novel, YA

"an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

I put this on my to be read list after Raych gushed about it and I read the blurb. I'm sorry to say that I found it all kinds of disappointing. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't the book the blurbs say it is. And it wasn't creepy, at all. In fact, I felt like it was all sort of incomplete and everything was so...flat with flat characters and poor setting.

First, let me tell you some good things about it. The narrative is indeed adventurous. The story keeps you reading. The page weight makes it a nice reading experience. Ok, the story is the main reason this is a good book-it sucks you in and despite throwing you in a completely different story than you thought, it keeps you in. The main (male) character is fairly intelligent and reaches the same conclusions as the reader when faced with puzzles and mysteries and many of the twists are well handled with wit for the adults. Like when Jacob's grandfather is telling him about the monsters in Poland in the 40s and you're all like, yeah, the NAZIS but actually, there might have been monsters too...I was like, that's nice and clever, thank you Riggs.

Now, hear me out. I love me some picture and narrative mixing and I definitely love mix of fact and fiction but it was so clumsy in this book. It's not fair, I know, to compare it with Sebald's oeuvre (which I adore beyond belief) and Danielewski's House of Leaves (which I found actually creepy) but I did anyway. To me, it was so obvious the story was just stories given to photographs. So the characters were varied and unique but also flat-completely described in terms of their peculiarity (she floats!), now let's move on to the next photo. And then every photograph was described, in detail. No, not details or methods used pointed out but general descriptions like, girl floating in a flapper dress.Which is all good and well for the blind but makes it sound clumsy like middle schoolers just learning how to refer to a quote in their essay. That really, really, really got on my nerves. And a random nitpick about the photographs is that none of them were new to me-so they weren't creepy because I was constantly considering them in the context of my earlier experiences of them which kind of ruins the flow of the story and pretty much cuts out the creepy horror.

I might read the sequels (and it's oh, oh so obvious it's gonna have sequels) but I plan to make no effort to do so.

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