To truly enjoy any story there is a certain amount of forgetting yourself and suspending disbelief that you as the reader are expected to do. I find that my mood is a huge factor in my ability to do so, but one thing will always either draw me in deeper or break the spell completely is the explanation given for the extraordinary.
Fantasy draws mostly on magical and mystical explanations, while science fiction weaves in understood scientific theory to nudge you into belief. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is more fantasy than anything else, but Ransom Riggs weaves in the peculiar with the mundane or cloaks it in a seeming mental break. I was drawn in deeper because I could understand the mundane and even the mental break.
Having spent ten years working with troubled teens, sixteen-year-old Jacob made sense to me. He seemed like a kid I could have met. Even his one friend was within the realm of kids I’ve met. That’s no judgement on any of the kids I actually worked with, or even Jacob. Riggs did an awesome job bringing Jacob to life, and my experience just added to it.
Then we meet some teens from a tiny village in Wales, and the peculiar children. Going international didn’t change my thoughts on teen behavior. Kids are kids, trying to figure out who they are, where they belong, what they want, and how to live. Those fundamental questions drive them. They drive us as adults, even after we hope we have some of the answers.
But the question that interested me most was for the peculiar children: what were they? Mutants? Aliens? Demon spawn?
Well, they are peculiar. No surprise there. I do like how the peculiarity is explained with just a hint of evolution, a little tie in to superstition and historical record, and a dose of unpredictability. The focus is the story, which is great, but there is a part of me that wants to go back to Miss Peregrine’s classroom and have her educate me in all thing peculiar throughout time.
The word taxonomy is dropped like a huge gleaming hook with my favorite brain food as bait attached. I want to look at the evolutionary chart. I want to see the historical documents. I want to know the peculiar genome.
Alas, on this I am left craving more.
There is the promise of a sequel with Hollow City. I for one am eagerly awaiting its release, and while I don’t anticipate my desire for all the technical miscellany to be revealed, I am looking forward to learning more about the peculiars and what lies ahead of them.
Don’t forget to check out Mary’s post about Writing Prompts and Peculiar Thoughts and enter for a chance to win a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.