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Sundays are for Book Reviews: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Random Riggs

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This review is what I like to call a reread review, in which I write a review of a book I reread and discuss how my perception of the book changed and how I felt about it this time around.  

This was my third time reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but this was the first time that I perceived the story differently than the first two reads. 

Jacob Portman has resigned himself to an ordinary life. He doesn’t believe in and cling to his grandfather’s fantasy stories anymore, and he has all of one friend. But when his grandfather dies under mysterious circumstances and Jacob’s new therapist recommends visiting the remote island in Wales where his grandfather lived as a teen during WWII, he’ll find that the stories his grandfather spoke of aren’t just stories at all, and the peculiar children he left behind are in fact real and will make Jacob’s life more than just a little extraordinary.

I still LOVE this book, let's get that out of the way. But it’s so interesting the way your perception of a story can shift over time or with exposure to a dumpster-fire movie adaptation. So, for these reread reviews I highlight the biggest change in my perception of the story and the most important constant/amazing element of the book.

Biggest change: This time around the story felt much quicker paced. I felt like I didn’t have as much time getting to know my favorite peculiar kids as before. The first two reads felt like Jacob and the kids had a ton of time to get to know each other and explore this new world they were now sharing. This time the relationships felt a little too instantaneous and unrealistic because everything felt quick. It was kind of frustrating because it seemed like Jacob was making grand decisions for his life based on little time with the people he was making those decisions for.

I didn’t quite feel the character relationships I wanted to feel, that had felt so strong the first time I read this book. They felt a little more one-dimensional. Not to say that the characters were underdeveloped because that isn’t the case at all. The characters are very well-rounded, but in terms of their relationships to each other, it felt like there was a little left to be desired.

Biggest constant: The vintage photographs still enhanced the reading experience, making it easier to visual the characters and the setting. It’s a unique premise and format for the story, and I just don’t think this book would work as well without it. The author does an incredible job making the photos blend seamlessly into the story. There are very few instances where it feels like a photo is forced a little for the sake of just having a photograph in that section.

The photos really ground the story in the time period it takes place and makes it so easy for the reader to visualize what’s going on and how these kids are living their lives during WWII in Europe. The backing history is really what brings this whole story to life, even if it’s just there for contextual framing.

I enjoyed going back to Miss Peregrine’s so much but was a little put off by the seeming shift in the pacing. Maybe I just read it quicker this time and that explains it, but who knows!

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