First things first, I love http://hellogiggles.com. Hello Giggles is a BA website started by 3 lovely ladies and the articles are incredibly relatable. If you don’t have time to read books (WHY are you here!?), you should at least check out this article: http://hellogiggles.com/things-i-am-learning-from-my-grandma-part-5 – it’s about books and wisdom from grandmas. I miss my grandmas. And grandpa.
Anyway, I’ve been debating on what book to do for the inaugural review and since the cable’s out and I can’t watch “So You Think You Can Dance”* in its entirety, I finally decided on a book.
*Did I mention my love of bad TV? Well, my boyfriend thinks it’s bad, but I don’t. Another one of my loves is dance. Always and forever. All I wanted to see was Lauren Froderman from last year and the cable and the storm and…Oh. Books. Sorry.
I read about this book in a couple of magazines and decided to check it out, mostly because I read that the author, Ransom Riggs, used real old photos that he found to supplement his story. I mean, the photos weren’t REAL old like super old, but I mean like not fake. Just old. I’m a huge fan of building stories around things in real life, which is totally vague and probably only makes sense if you had to write stories from Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick in 5th grade like I did, so I really enjoyed that idea.
Besides the photos, the book centers around a boy named Jacob Portman (blogger’s note – I had to look up his name and I just finished this book 3 days ago. You’ll learn that I am passionate at books, terrible at remembering names in books and some descriptive details like how a character looks. I make it up in my head. It’s the complete opposite of myself in real life which is interesting.) Jacob is very close with his Grandpa Portman, who has always told him fantastical stories of growing up in a children’s home. This children’s home isn’t like any other children’s home, at least not any I’ve heard about. He shows Jacob a select few photographs of his friends there, some of whom are invisible, can lift boulders, float, or even manage not to whine throughout an airplane ride. Oh, sorry, that wasn’t one of them. Girl can dream though, amiright?
As Jacob gets older, he starts to question the stories his grandfather tells him and eventually stops believing in them altogether. An INVISIBLE BOY!? A girl who can FLOAT!? I mean, who wouldn’t question that. (Me. Probably not until I was 20…er…16…12?) Something unfortunate happens to his grandfather SPOILER ALERT: there will be no spoilers in this blog. I promise. Something unfortunate happens to his grandfather which eventually leads Jacob to need to visit the children’s home, aptly named Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Now, I don’t want to go further into detail because this is definitely one of those books I mentioned in my introduction that is a “just go read it. don’t question it.” (Or as Nike formerly and awkwardly said, “just do it.”) But I will say what I loved about this book in the general terms.
1. It was creative. I like any type of story that I haven’t heard a million times before in one form or another. As I mentioned before, his use of photographs? Genius. I wish I’d thought of it for my yet-untitled-not-even-close-to-being-written book. That doesn’t even have a topic.
2. It tied, loosely, back to World War II and is set in Europe which makes me feel like not only am I reading for pleasure, but I’m getting some history, too. I’m really bad at history. This makes me feel smarter. However, since I know close to nothing about history, I don’t even know if any of the “historical” information in the book is correct or relevant. But it makes me feel smart and that’s all that matters.
3. The characters are amusing and resilient. They’re mostly kids and despite my airplane jab earlier, I generally like kids more than adults. After working at Disney World for way too long, I quickly learned the kids are never the problem. It’s the parents. Parents are a-holes. Kids, on the other hand, are usually fun and probably smarter than their parents. How does that happen?
4. There is enough supernatural in this book to keep people who love Harry Potter books interested, but it’s not overwhelming. I, as an avid fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, am totally cool with the supernatural, but I prefer it to be human supernaturality. That’s not a word. But irregardless, this book has total human supernaturality. (I know, both not words. So fetch of me.) If you’re not on the same brain pattern as me (aka, mostly no one), I mean that the supernatural business is woven nicely into the “real world.” It seems plausible and it makes you want everything to be real because it’s so cool. In words you Potter-heads can understand, *exclaims slightly whinily* “I want to go to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children!”**
**I swear I’m not making fun of Harry or people who love him. I’ll begrudgingly admit I love him, too. I just sometimes am bitter that I got sucked into it when it’s so trendy to love HP. Now, excuse me while I continue typing on my new Apple MacBook Pro laptop and answer my Apple iPhone whilst watching reruns of Glee…
5. The story made me cry. I think. I cry a lot. It could have been the episode of Buffy I was watching…when Joyce dies…it’s so… Right. This book did make me cry because of the idea of being torn between two places. I think a lot of us can relate to that. Maybe you don’t feel like you belong somewhere, but you’re obligated to be in that somewhere and not where you’re truly happy. It could be familial obligations or work obligations or just comfortable to be there, but you’re not where you’re supposed to be. Your somewhere probably doesn’t have peculiar children, but if it does, email me. I’m so down with that.
6. Lastly, this book was easy to read. I don’t mean that it’s in small sentences and easy reading, but I sped through it. I’m a fast reader as it is, but I definitely couldn’t put this book down. It was bizarre and intriguing and I’m a sucker for a first-person voice. (Can’t you tell?)
Now that I’ve kept my promise of being less articulate and more wordy than paid reviewers, I hope you find the time to read this book. If you’re like me, your list of books to read is about fifty books long, but consider adding it. To the top. NOW.
One last parting gift before I sign off. It has nothing to do with peculiar children or books, but just pure fun. DANCE. If this video with my favorite dancer ever Lauren doesn’t remind you of youthful innocence, I don’t know what could:
Until next time. READ!