By Sierra Maciorowski
Old photographs tell stories across time, passing on images of what has been and never will be again. However, very few photographs travel through loops in time, have content that borders on impossible, and eventually lead to an elderly grandfather murdered by strange creatures called “hollowgasts.”
As intriguing and strange as they may have been, it wasn’t the fault of the photos that Jacob’s grandfather Abe was killed. Abe was still a young man when he came to America, leaving behind not only his war-filled past, but the small island off the coast of Wales, the time loop he had stayed in with the other peculiar children, and the children themselves as well.
Unfortunately, Jacob inherited his grandfather’s peculiar ability to see the hollowgasts, so when Abe is killed, Jacob begins to have psychological problems; or so his psychiatrist tells him. After finding a mysterious letter addressed to his grandfather from Miss Peregrine, as well as the old photographs which Abe had shown to Jacob many years ago alongside his tales of monsters and levitating children, Jacob decides that he must go to Wales to search for the Home, and the woman who took Abe in after World War II.
To his great surprise, not all on the island is in the same time zone that it appears to be… in a certain part of the island, everything is still stuck on the day that the island was bombed and the Home was destroyed.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is an engrossing story, full of strange twists in plot and enchanting characters. Combining small elements of historical fiction, romance, horror, and a picture book, perhaps the most beautiful elements of this story by Ransom Riggs are the photographs which inspired the entire book.
Each of the vintage photos, collected by the author, shows strange images of children: some grotesque, some mysterious, and some obviously altered. Although the photos are not the most exciting part of the story, they are very probably the most enchanting. A girl who floats, a boy who can lift boulders, a girl who makes the flowers grow?
Anything is possible in the world of the peculiars, although they were once a part of our world. That is long in the past, and they can never return to real time if they wish to keep their lives and their ages intact.