Monday, October 17, 2011
"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs
What sets Miss Peregrine apart is its use of odd vintage photographs, which appear periodically throughout the book (i.e., as Jacob examines the photo, it appears in the novel). Though the photos are interesting and certainly creepy, they also have the unintended effect of making the novel feel like a creative writing exercise. I could just imagine an instructor saying, "Here are five random photos; now make a cohesive story from them!" Even though writers are free to get their inspiration from anywhere, such inspiration is usually less apparent. Seeing the photos made me think, "Okay, so here's how Riggs choose to work this photo in." Fair or not, I couldn't help seeing the story as forced and inauthentic because of it.
This sense of inauthenticity also extended to the characters. I just couldn't quite buy Jacob's teenage angst, and he often seemed much younger or much older than he's supposed to be. I also didn't connect to his relationship with Emma, which happened far too quickly.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is not a bad story, and it would be great for a younger audience with a lower reading level. However, it didn't bring me in.