Saturday, December 21, 2013
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
If you like: odd pictures * others * The Night Circus
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a place where peculiars, people with astounding abilities, can safely live their lives away from the dangerous skepticism of the general population, as well as the mysterious horrors that hunt their kind. Jacob has longed to live in the world of fantasy his grandfather elaborately described throughout his life. As he aged, Jacob began to feel the skepticism that comes with it, and the shattering of youthful whimsy. His grandfather’s rantings about the mysterious dangers that they need to be protected from are attributed to the deterioration of age, until it is too late. Jacob is shocked into reevaluating everything his grandfather told him, and begins an exploration that will change his life.
Grief can remake a person, either by destroying everything they have ever believed in, or by opening their eyes to what they have overlooked in their everyday life. For Jacob, the passing of his grandfather initially destroys his entire world. The hole that remains after a person is gone rarely leaves more answers than questions. For peculiars this is even more severe. Maintaining a secret life will always leave remnants to be discovered by those who must seek to order the chaos of your leaving. Although they may be a burden to his father, these glimpses into the alternate life of his grandfather provide the pieces for him to identify the true nature of the world. It is this process that allows him to come to terms with everything that he lost, and find a way to continue to go on inspite of everything he lost. The shift in his world view makes it impossible for him to maintain life as it was. One cannot discover that there are entire worlds only accessible to a select few and then be satisfied by only living in one. By embracing this Jacob is able to move past his grief and forge a new bond with his grandfather, even if the connection is only one way.
The peculiars are a fascinating set of others hidden among the people of the world. They are the sort of magical people that spontaneously occur in the general population, not unlike the wizards of Harry Potter, the mutants of X-Men, the Tomorrow People, or of the other next-stage humans that exists throughout the genre. Like the others, they remain hidden in secret safe houses around the globe, but unlike the others, they also remain hidden out of time. Their repetitious time loops keep them safe, but they also keep them separated. Existing in a continuous state of reset allows them to keep their youth and extends their lives, but it is also mentally isolating. Their environment fosters that abilities and allows them to use their peculiar abilities without fear, but is also stunts their personal growth. Prisoners of their own safety, it is only a matter of time before their salvation becomes their demise. That said, the fantastical nature of the loop reset, and the sense that all wrongs will be forgiven by the morning, allows the children to have the freedom to explore and push their boundaries. Were they ordinary, the sameness of the loop might become impossible, but Miss Peregrine’s students are able to make each day new, with unlimited possibilities for what they can achieve. The allure of living uninhibited is impossible for Jacob to ignore. He is not so much running away from the normal world, but running toward the abnormal. With the children, he finally feels comfortable in his own skin, even when he does not feel himself to be peculiar. By finding his tribe, Jacob is able to live without the fears and anxieties that plagued him in the day-to-day world, and so he can transcend any limited view he has of his future. He does not join up with the peculiars only out of a sense of duty to help and protect them as a part of his grandfather’s legacy. Jacob can never go back to his old life once he sees a glimmer of what his new life could be.
If you would float away if you didn’t tie yourself down, read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
Riggs, Ransom. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Quirk Books, 2011. Kindle Edition.