Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
|Genre||Young adult literature, dark fantasy|
Published in English
|June 7, 2011|
|Media type||Print, e-book, audiobook|
|Followed by||Hollow City|
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is the debut novel by American author Ransom Riggs. It is a story of a boy who, following a horrific family tragedy, follows clues that take him to an abandoned orphanage on a Welsh island. The story is told through a combination of narrative and vernacular photographs from the personal archives of collectors listed by the author.
This young adult book was originally intended to be a picture book featuring photographs Riggs had collected, but on the advice of an editor at Quirk Books, he used the photographs as a guide from which to put together a narrative. Riggs was a collector of photographs, but needed more for his novel. He met Leonard Lightfoot, a well-known collector at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, and was introduced to other collectors. The result was a story about a boy who follows clues from his grandfather's old photographs which lead him on an adventure that takes him to a large abandoned orphanage on a Welsh island.
The book has been a New York Times best seller. It reached the #1 spot on the Children's Chapter Books list on April 29, 2012, after being on the list for 45 weeks, remaining there until 20 May, when it dropped to the fourth spot on the list. Critics have generally praised the book for creative use of vintage photographs as well as good characterisation and settings.
As a child, Jacob Portman listened to his grandfather, Abraham's stories about living with peculiar children in a special orphanage run by Miss Peregrine. As Jacob grows older, he doubts the stories until he visits his injured and dying grandfather and witnesses a strange, humanoid creature only he can see. Abraham tells Jacob to "... find the bird in the loop on the other side of the old man's grave on September 1940, and tell them what happened." No one believes Jacob's account of an invisible monster with tentacle-like tongues. His parents take him to Dr. Golan, a psychiatrist, who suggests that Jacob go to Wales, the location of his grandfather's orphanage. Jacob finds the orphanage deserted, so he seeks information from the local people, including workers at the Cairnholm Museum.
During another search of the orphanage, Jacob encounters a mysterious girl whom he follows and questions. They reach the bogs before Jacob realizes that the inn and people are quite different. The drunken patrons are suspicious and chase Jacob. The girl, Emma Bloom, and an invisible boy named Millard Nullings rescue Jacob and escape with him to Miss Peregrine's orphanage. There Jacob is introduced to other peculiar children. Bronwyn Bruntley has amazing strength and Claire Densmore has a mouth at the back of her head. Emma and Millard tell Jacob they exist in a time loop, reliving the same day forever due to Miss Peregrine, who is an Ymbryne. Ymbrynes can create time loops. She explains that hollowgasts — humanoid, tentacle-mouthed creatures like the one that killed Jacob's grandfather — are a threat to all Ymbryne-run orphanages. Miss Peregrine tells Jacob, that he, like his grandfather, has the ability to see the hollowgasts.
Jacob notices that the peculiar children use their powers to entertain crowds. He meets Enoch O'Connor, who uses hearts from other creatures to temporarily restore life. Enoch introduces Jacob to Victor, who lies dead in his bed, killed by a hollowgast many years before. The wights, who have evolved from hollowgasts, hunger for power from the peculiars. Jacob, Emma, Bronwyn, Enoch, and Millard go into an ice house where a deceased man, Martin, lies inside a lidless ice coffin. Enoch uses a sheep heart to briefly bring Martin back to life. Martin tells them that a wight killed him. A wight then appears behind them and reveals that he is Dr. Golan. Jacob decides to stay in the time loop so that he and his companions can escape from Dr. Golan. They make their way back to the orphanage, but discover that Dr. Golan has kidnapped Miss Peregrine.
Dr. Golan warns them not to attempt to rescue Miss Peregrine. Jacob and his friends believe he is bluffing and follow him. When they find Dr. Golan near a lighthouse, he shoots Millard. They see Miss Peregrine and Miss Avocet, another Ymbrynem, in their bird forms and trapped in a cage. Jacob and Emma follow Dr. Golan. When they corner him, he throws the cage into the sea. Jacob shoots him, and Golan falls into the darkness. Jacob and Emma follow the bird cage underwater and see a U-boat. They recover the cage and bring Miss Peregrine back to shore, but Miss Avocet is captured by the wights and taken away on the U-boat. Jacob and his companions realize that Miss Peregrine cannot change back into human form. Returning to the orphanage, they find it destroyed, leaving them having to track down the wights and discover how to help Miss Peregrine. Jacob travels back to the present to say goodbye to his father, but promises to return when his mission is finished. Jacob and his companions set sail to track down the wights.
- Jacob Portman — 16 years old; main character. Jacob's peculiarity is to see hollowgasts. When his grandfather Abraham is killed by a hollowgast, Jacob goes into a deep depression, leading his parents to hire Dr. Golan as a psychiatrist and also leading to Jacob learning about his peculiar ancestry.
- Emma Bloom — appears as a teenager, around 16 as well. She has the control of fire, in the movie Emma's peculiarity is being switched with Olive's as to being lighter than air. She was Abraham's sweetheart while he lived in the loop, and now is Jacob's.
- Abraham Portman — Abraham is Jacob's grandfather. Like Jacob, he had the peculiarity of seeing hollowgasts. When Abraham was living in the loop, his sweetheart was Emma Bloom. He left the loop to fight, and Abraham spent his adult life traveling the world defeating hollowgasts whenever he could, but kept it a secret from his family.
- Bronwyn Bruntley — appears as a teenager, but appears as a young child in the 2016 film. Bronwyn is imbued with incredible strength like her brother Victor. She is almost like the motherly figure for the wards in the books. Sister to Vs foster siblings. Bronwyn, in the books is described as self concious espesially when her brother victor gets killed by the hippo monster
- Enoch O'Connor — a boy who can resurrect the dead and bring life to unanimated objects, all for a limited time.and he is the love interest of Olive.
- Horace Somnusson;— appears as a teenager. Horace is capable of having prophetic dreams. He is a follower of fashion, and is commonly seen in suit and tie with a top hat and a monocle.
- Fiona Frauenfeld — appears as a teenager. Fiona has an affinity for plants and can make them grow or die. She has immunity to most poisons and toxins. She keeps herself in an unkempt state, in some respects like her beloved plants.
- Hugh Apiston — appears as a teenager. Hugh has empathy with bees. He stores them in his stomach to protect them and can command them when they are released. Hugh is famously Fiona's love interest, as she is his. The other peculiars consider that since he controls bees and she controls plants, their mutual attraction is natural.
- Millard Nullings — appears as a teenager. Millard appears as a young adolescent in the time loop and has the extraordinary peculiarity of invisibility. Unfortunately, he is always invisible, but he wears clothes most of the time. He is also extremely well-versed in all things peculiar, currently engaged in trying to document the events of every living thing on the island during the loop.
- Olive Abroholos — Appears peculiar as a child. In the book Olive is lighter than air but appears to control fire in Tim Burton's film adaptation, which is switched to Emma's peculiarity in the book.
- Claire Densmore - a young girl with the peculiarity of an extra mouth in the back of her head with extremely sharp teeth. She is the youngest (In terms of age before arrival to the loop) of Miss Peregrine's orphaned peculiar children.
- Victor Bruntley — appears as a teenager. Like his sister Bronwyn, Victor also has super strength. He was killed by a hollowgast before the start of the series and his body was kept in a bedroom upstairs until they buried him. Before his death, he was best friends with Enoch. Due to this Enoch blames Abraham and Jake for his death until the end of the book and film.
An Ymbryne is a particular kind of peculiar that can change into one kind of bird and can create and maintain a time loop; they are always female, and protect peculiar children, adults, and animals, often rescuing them from dire situations.
- Alma LeFay Peregrine (née Bentham) — Miss Peregrine is the headmistress of the school. She is a delicate woman who enjoys a pipe and adores her charges, although she can be strict at times. She lived in Miss Avocet's loop when she was young and she can turn into a peregrine falcon.
- Esmeralda Avocet — Miss Avocet is an elderly woman from the early to mid-Victorian period in England. Her time loop was invaded by wights and hollowgasts, forcing her to retreat to Miss Peregrine's loop. She can turn into an avocet.
- Miss Finch — Very little is known about her. She can transform herself to a finch and has an aunt who stays in finch form.
- Balenciaga Wren -- Miss Wren is the headmistress of a menagerie for peculiar animals. She can turn into a wren.
- Millicent Thrush -- Miss Thrush has a loop in London for Peculiar Children. She can turn into a thrush
- Franklin Portman — Franklin is Jacob's father, who is married to Maryann Portman. He always had a difficult relationship with his father and assumed he was having a long-term affair when he was gone from the house. He gets obsessed with one topic or another and starts writing books about them, but never finishes. He is the only one who goes with Jacob to Wales.
- Maryann Portman — Maryann is Jacob's mother and Franklin Portman's wife. She grew up in a rich family and still holds onto her materialistic ways. She is not a very loving mother, putting her socialite life ahead of comforting her son. However, she is very protective of Jacob.
- Susan Portman — Susan is Jacob's beloved aunt. She gives him his grandfather's copy of Ralph Waldo Emerson's poems, which leads Jacob to his quest in Wales.
Miss Peregrine's spent 70 weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers list for children's chapter books. It reached the No. 1 spot on the list on April 29, 2012 after being on the list for 45 weeks. It remained there until 20 May, when it dropped to the fourth spot on the list. The book dropped off the list on September 9, 2012, after 63 weeks.
According to Deborah Netburn for the Los Angeles Times, the best part of the novel is "a series of black-and-white photos sprinkled throughout the book". Publishers Weekly called the book "an enjoyable, eccentric read distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters."
A sequel, titled Hollow City, was released on January 14, 2014. The novel is set immediately after the first, and sees Jacob and his friends fleeing from Miss Peregrine's to the "peculiar capital of the world", London.
A film adaptation of the book was released in the United States on September 30, 2016. It was directed by Tim Burton from a screenplay by Jane Goldman. Eva Green played Miss Peregrine in the film, along with Asa Butterfield as Jacob, and Ella Purnell as Emma Bloom.
- Rife, Susan (December 16, 2011). "Ransom Riggs visits alma mater to discuss 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children'". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012.
- Cameron, Claire (August 19, 2011). "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012.
- Medley, Mark (June 21, 2011). "Freak chic: The "universal creepiness" of Ransom Riggs' new novel". National Post. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012.
- "Best Sellers – Children's Chapter Books". New York Times. August 21, 2011. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012.
- "Best Sellers – Children's Chapter Books". The New York Times. April 29, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
- "Best Sellers – Children's Chapter Books". The New York Times. May 6, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
- "Best Sellers – Children's Chapter Books". The New York Times. May 13, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
- "Best Sellers – Children's Chapter Books". The New York Times. May 20, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
- "Best Sellers – Children's Chapter Books". The New York Times. September 2, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
- "Best Sellers – Children's Chapter Books". The New York Times. September 9, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
- Netburn, Deborah (May 17, 2011). "Found photography drives 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
- "Children's Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
- Riggs, Ransom (February 7, 2013). "Hi! I'm still alive . . .". Archived from the original on February 16, 2013.
- Lee, Stephan (May 29, 2013). "See the title and an excerpt from the sequel to 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
- Romney, Ginny (February 21, 2015). "Author Ransom Riggs draws inspiration from old photos for Peculiar Children series, sequel 'Hollow City". Deseret News. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015.
- Lodge, Sally (November 14, 2013). "Ransom Riggs Returns to Miss Peregrine's Home with 'Hollow City'". Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on December 11, 2013.
- Fleming Jr, Mike (December 2, 2011). "'X-Men: First Class' Scribe Jane Goldman Scripting 'Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children'". Deadline.com. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
- Kroll, Justin (July 28, 2014). "Eva Green Eyes Tim Burton's 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children'". Variety. Retrieved July 29, 2014.