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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children---A beautiful concept that fails to deliver.
on February 3, 2017
I could hardly contain myself while I waited for the mailman to drop off my Amazon.com order containing the first installment of Ransom Rigg's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I had read a blurb describing the book and had seen all of the photographs Riggs was incorporating in his storytelling. The premise is simple enough; there is a group of misfit children who are gathered together in a Victorian Era house under the tutelage and protection of an austere beauty by the name of Miss Peregrine. The book comes off like the spurious offspring of a love triangle between Edgar Allen Poe, Tim Burton and Stan Lee. Miss Peregrine is the early twentieth century Charles Xavier with her mansion full of prepubescent, genetically askew students. The bad guy in the story is even a being that shares the same gifts as her peculiar children but he has chosen a different path that sets him and his cronies at odds with Miss P's tiny soldiers.
These are all the ingredients for a children's story capable of standing out amongst its peers and going on to become the type of commercial phenomena that publishers have been searching for since the boy who lived finally graduated from Wizarding School.
Miss Peregrine and her Peculiar Children appears to be the kind of idea that spreads like wildfire among children and then on up through every marketable age-group targeted by advertisers and their ilk. In the end, though, all the book turns out to be is a really good idea. There is little substance to the book. Reading through the chapters one gets the sense that the author poured his heart and soul into the first third of the book, submitted it, got a huge early advance and a fast approaching deadline and just filled as many pages as he could as quick as he was able to.
The scenario I put forth is pure fiction but, at least, it offers some explanation as to why the draft that made it to my hands was approved by the author, editors and the publishing company.
This is one instance where I would urge anyone who hasn't read the books to not bother with the effort and watch the film adaptation instead. Perhaps the director and screenwriters will do this brilliant idea justice.