All of us have had that grandpa who told fantastical stories about their childhood. On the usual, your grandfather didn’t tell stories about glowing eyed, coal black monsters with tentacles spilling from their mouths. Nor the troupe of invisible boys and levitating girls, or a set of grotesque twins that ate ribbons, all presided over by a headmistress who was just as strange as the lot.
Jacob Portman’s grandpa did.
After the death of Jacob’s grandfather, the teen is desperate to break the hold those outlandish stories had on him for his whole life. He traveled to Wales in search of an orphanage that his grandfather sought refuge in during WWII German air raids, yanked back and forth from believing the logical explanation for his grandpa’s life or stranger set of events. Meanwhile searching to vindicate his grandfather from those who claimed the stories were a way of hiding what a cold, distant man he really was.
Ransom Riggs has a beautiful grip on the english language, with arousing descriptors such as “…would turn out to have been home to some ancient recluse who’d been surviving on ramen and toenail clippings since time immemorial…” and “The kitchen was a science experiment gone terribly wrong – entire shelves of jarred food had exploded from sixty seasons of freezing and thawing, splattering the wall with evil-looking stains…” Paired with jarring photographs, this book made my veins course with anxiety. It was thrilling.
A fine read for a Young Adult literature fan who is tired of always having an undead romance sponge up all the glory. The characters and settings are believable and an all-around intriguing story.
For the record, my grandpa was a Polish farmer who magically made his teeth appear in a lunch box, ate a plate full of tomato slices daily, and while in the Army drove over an anaconda.
“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” 2011