At the beginning of last week, I stumbled across Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs on one Czech blog and I got immediately attracted to the cover. Just to make it clear, I'm terrified of kids. And babies. Especially the ones in horror movies (I watched Rosemary's Baby about 7 years ago and still get freaked out by prams!) and in old photographs . Have you noticed how scary people used to look decades ago? My nan gave me a few old photo albums a few months ago, with photographs dating back to early 1900s. Everyone in those pictures looks like from a horror movie, I'm tellin ya! Yet I'm still attracted to antiquities and what life used to be back then, especially when it includes some genealogical aspects. I briefly googled some information about this book and honestly, it only took 'the photographs used throughout the book are authentic' and I was checking out on Amazon. Woops!
Briefly reading some reviews, I immediately thought hmm, this is gonna be something like Shutter Island combined with Almanac of Darkness (book of creepy unexplainable stuff like UFO and fakirs breathing out fire) and maybe some aspects of my mum's childhood (my nan is a psychiatrist and used to be part of staff that lived in a home for mentally ill, obviously when my mum was born, my nan still lived there, so my mum grew up with the mentally ill kids, and that includes bad cases of elephantiasis and other syndromes - not exactly a kid-friendly environment).
I'm not gonna review this book, because A) I'm not sure what you can and what you can't tell, so you don't spoil the book for people - I'm well known for spoiling films already! and B) I've got enough to say about this book without reviewing it anyways, ha!
All you really need to know that it is a story of a boy (I think some aspects are taken from Ransom Rigg's life itself), who has a really close relationship with his granddad, who tells him stories about his childhood - growing up in an island orphanage right off a Welsh coast. He shows him photographs of children, his friends, who used to live there with him - the children aren't your standard kid-next-door sort of children though, they are peculiar. After his granddad dies, he feels an urge to go back to the island and explore it. What he finds is for you to read!
I personally fell in love with this book big time! For so many reasons! As I already mentioned, the photographs used throughout the book are authentic - they were found in random collections of random people, but only when you read the book you realize how perfectly they fit in with the story! An important part of the storyline relates to the WWII and Jewish genocide, which is a topic close to my heart, as my mum's side of family is of a Jewish origin.
Also, apparently the Welsh island that most of the story takes place on, does not exist as such, but in an interview Random Riggs admitted that he took his inspiration from a Scottish island St Kilda. Automatically, this island goes on my to-visit list, ha!
Overall, the whole story seems to bring out just the right amount of all sorts of emotions in me, it's got a story of a tight family bond, it's about exploration, it's about evaluating your life, some parts are a bit giggly (I wouldn't recommend reading this if you're a Welsh islander and you get very easily offended, haha!), it's about love, society, it's got an element of fantasy, history and mysticality, almost horror too. And after reading it, you realize that there is a much bigger message behind the whole story.
To sum it up, this is a book that found a place on my shelf and won't be leaving it anytime soon. I read it in two days (woops!), and I can't stress enough how excited I was when I read online that there's gonna be a sequel to this! Tripple yay! And a quadruple yay for Ransom Riggs, who wrote this amazing book in just 10 months (how?!!). I'm not too sure whether you can find this in Waterstone's, but would guess so (it was published in 2011), The original price tag on the book says $17.99, but I got mine off Amazon for £8! £8 well spent, I say!
Have you ever read a book that triggered literally all emotions in you?