Posts Tagged ‘Miss Pererine’s Home for Peculiar Children’

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This month’s book club pick is Ransom Riggs‘ 2011 novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. A film adaptation directed by Tim Burton (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland) was released last month.

When I heard that Tim Burton was directing Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children I was pretty excited as the gothic fantasy world is Burton’s speciality.

Eva Green, who appeared in Burton’s Dark Shadows portrays the titular character Miss Peregrine brilliantly. Green does not appear in the film until around the 30 minute mark so the audience follows the journey of the awkwardly shy, wide-eyed sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman, played by Asa Butterfield (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, Hugo, Ender’s Game).

Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) and Jacob (Asa Butterfield)

Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) and Jacob (Asa Butterfield)

Jacob’s grandfather Abe (Terence Stamp), a World War II veteran and Jewish refugee, would tell him stories from his own childhood featuring flesh eating monsters and children with the most peculiar abilities.

Following his grandfather’s mysterious death Jacob finds a letter postmarked from Cairnholm Island addressed to his grandfather from Miss Peregrine.

Jacob convinces his parents (Chris O’Dowd and Kim Dickens) to let him go to Cairnholm Island, off the coast of Wales, for the summer. Jacob’s psychiatrist Dr. Golan (Allison Janney) approves of the idea, so Jacob and his father set off. While there Jacob explores the island and searches for answers about his grandfather’s past.

Samuel J. Jackson portrays the villain of the piece – Barron, the leader of the Wights and Hollows. He too has a peculiar ability.

British stage and screen legends Dame Judi Dench (Miss Esmeralda Avocet) and Rupert Everett (John Lemmon) also co-star.

Barron (Samuel L. Jackson)

Barron (Samuel L. Jackson)

Miss Avocat (Judi Dench)

Miss Avocet (Judi Dench)

The screenplay is by Jane Goldman (co-writer Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Kingsman: The Secret Service).

Overall it is a faithful to the essence of the novel. There are some changes like most book to film adaptations. The one change that has had some fans up in arms is the decision to switch Emma (Ella Purnell) and Olive’s (Lauren McCrostie) abilities. In the book Emma is pyrokinetic; in that she is able to manipulate fire. In the film Emma has Olive’s special ability of weightlessness; she floats.

Emma (Ella Purnell)

Emma (Ella Purnell)

Olive (Lauren McCrostie)

Olive (Lauren McCrostie)

Another character change is Dr. Golan. In the book the character is male for the film the character is portrayed by Emmy award winning actress Allison Janney. Personally I can overlook this change as I am a fan of Janney and I think the change works for the film.

The first half of the film is reasonably faithful to the book. The later act has been changed this is probably for pacing reasons. The novel is part of a trilogy whereas Goldman and Burton have designed the film to be a stand alone story. Although Burton leaves enough mystery for the possibility of a sequel.

Olive (Lauren McCrostie), Bronwyn (Pixie Davies), Millard (Cameron King), Twins (Joseph and Thomas Odwell), Emma (Ella Purnell)

Olive (Lauren McCrostie), Bronwyn (Pixie Davies), Millard (Cameron King), Twins (Joseph and Thomas Odwell), Emma (Ella Purnell)

Book Club Pick: October 2016

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Book Details:

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs

Series: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series, followed by Hollow City (2014), Library of Souls (2015)

Country: United States

Publisher: Quirk Books

First Published: 2011

Pages: 352

Publisher’s Description:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow – impossible though it seems – they may still be alive.

Review:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is told from the point-of-view of sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman.

As a child Jacob’s grandfather Abe, a World War II veteran and Jewish refugee, would tell him stories from his own childhood featuring flesh eating monsters and children with the most peculiar abilities.

Jacob as he grows older becomes sceptical of his grandfather’s childhood tales. Even though Abe shows his grandson a cigar box fill of old photographs as proof Jacob challenges Abe that his stories are fiction. Abe chooses never to mention the stories again.

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After Jacob finds his grandfather dying with chest wounds from a mysterious attack, Abe tells Jacob ‘Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man’s grave. September third, 1940’. What does this mysterious message mean? Even more did Jacob really just glimpse one of the monsters from his grandfather’s stories in the moonlight?

Following his grandfather’s death Jacob finds a letter postmarked from Cairnholm Island addressed to his grandfather from Ms Alma LeFay Peregrine.

Jacob tries to convince his parents to let him go to Cairnholm Island, off the coast of Wales, for the summer. Jacob’s psychiatrist Dr. Golan approves of the idea, so Jacob and his father set off. While there Jacob explores the island and searches for answers about his grandfather’s past.

Riggs initially envisioned his debut novel as a picture book. He was encouraged by his editor to use the photographs to guide the narrative and it really works. Each picture is perfectly selected and adds to the story.

The vintage black and white photographs are quirky photos the author collected and from the collection of other collectors.

The novel has been followed by two sequels Hollow City (2014) and Library of Souls (2015).

A film version directed by Tim Burton opened last month. It includes a stellar cast including Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Alison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Judi Dench and Samuel L. Jackson.

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Links:

Ransom Riggs Official Website

Ransom Riggs on Twitter

Ransom Riggs on Instagram

Ransom Riggs on Tumblr

Ransom Riggs on Facebook

Ransom Riggs on YouTube

 

Source: I borrowed a copy of this book from my public library.