Every so often, I still enjoy sitting down to a book with pictures. One such story that I would suggest is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Let me offer a bit of an explanation as to why this one, in particular, stands out to me.
I’ll bet you’ve heard of Quirk Books, the publishing company that is known for publishing such books as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and The Word-Case Scenario Handbook. The company specializes in books that have a funny or quirky edge and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children fits right in. The book features a series of strange, but unedited pictures from decades gone past. Several pictures include a little girl that appears to be floating off the ground, a boy holding a large boulder as if it were a pebble, an invisible boy, along with other strange oddities. Using these elements, the author, Ransom Riggs (stellar name), penned an intriguing story of a World War II-era home for orphans and “peculiars,” or those with strange powers. The home has an “Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters” feel, but stands on its own two legs instead of relying on such a comparison.
The story follows a sixteen-year-old average boy named Jacob, living present-day, who is on the trail of learning more about his beloved and misunderstood grandfather. As the story goes, his grandfather leads him to the island of Wales where a home once stood. Will Jacob find what he is looking for? Will he be able to make sense of his grandfather’s stories from years gone by? I do not want to spoil the book, but Jacob finds a way back to the home’s glory days in the 1940’s… sort of.
The story is just as much a coming-of-age story of a young man as it is about the sideshow cast of misfits. The skillful story balances heart and creepiness and the grade-A plot like a line of spinning plates.
As for spiritual content, I don’t want to try to force some spiritual meaning into something that lacks one, but I do find much value in a believer that knows who he or she is like Jacob in this book. For example, for years, I struggled greatly with my family life. My father left my mother, brother, and me. My brother and I went back and forth from parent to parent every other day. I felt as if my bearings were lost until I realized how important it was for me to find myself in Christ. A big part of this was coming face-to-face with my family’s history and finding out who I was in the midst of the craziness and hurt. When all was said and done, I had to look to Christ for strength, purpose, and hope. The very thing that could have hurt me, became a tool in the hands of the Creator to shape me. Though the character in the book doesn’t do this, he is forced to discover the truth of his family, which I find admirable.
Overall, I would recommend this unique story for its quirk and story, but don’t take my word for it…
Warning to the younger readers and parents, there is some crude language in the book.