Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
About the Author:
Riggs was born in Maryland in 1979 on a 200-year-old farm, and grew up in Florida, where he attended Pine View School for the Gifted. He studied English literature at Kenyon College, and studied film at the University of Southern California. His work on short films for the Internet and blogging for Mental Floss got him a job writing The Sherlock Holmes Handbook which was released as a tie-in to the 2009 Sherlock Holmes film. Riggs had collected curious vernacular photographs and approached his publisher, Quirk Books, about using some of them in a picture book. On the suggestion of an editor, Riggs used the photographs as a guide from which to put together a narrative. The resulting book was Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which made The New York Times Best Seller list, and was adapted into the 2016 film of the same name. (Wikipedia)
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious 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 a 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 abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the 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. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows. (Amazon)
- What effect did the photographs have on how you experienced this novel? In fact, what was your reading experience of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children? How did it make you feel? Were you disturbed...or fascinated...or something else? Did the book hold your interest?
- What's wrong with Jacob Portman? What's his problem?
- What about Abe Portman, what kind of character is he? What kind of a world does he create in his stories for young Jacob? Why do the stories intrigue Jacob so much?
- As he moves into adolescence, why does Jacob begin to doubt the veracity of his grandfather's stories? In what way does he think they may be connected to Abe's struggle under the Nazis?
- What makes Jacob think his grandfather's death is more sinister than what the official version claims.
- Talk about the house in Wales. When Jacob first lays eyes on it, he observes that it "was no refuge from monsters, but a monster itself." Would you say the house serves as a setting to the story...or is its role something else—a character, perhaps?
- What are the atmospherics used to build suspense in the novel. Find some examples of how the author uses language to instill unease, fear, and tension.
- Are you able to make sense of the "after," the time loop? Can you explain it? Do you enjoy the way Riggs plays with time in his novel?
- Were you surprised by the direction that the story took? Were you expecting it to go elsewhere? Were you able to suspend disbelief enough to enjoy the story's turn of events?
- Talk, of course, about the peculiar children. Which of their oddities and personalities do you find most intriguing?
- Some readers have complained about the inconsistency of the narrative voice, that it was perhaps too sophisticated for a young boy, even an adolescent? Do you agree, or disagree? Does the narrative voice change during the course of the novel?
- In what way can this book be seen as a classic quest story—a young hero who undertakes a difficult journey and is transformed in the process? Do you see parallels with other fantasy works involving young people?
- Does the end satisfy? Are loose ends tied up....or left hanging? This is the first book of a planned series. Will you read future installments? Where do you think Riggs will take his readers next?