Miss Peregine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Published by Quirk Books, Philadelphia
A combination of words and photographs will always combust, in a good way like Iain Thomas’ I Wrote This For You. I thought the title was particularly strange and the first few pages introduce you to strange, better still, peculiar kids. I had to study the photographs and found out that there was more than met my eye. But what other stories do grandfathers tell their kids if not the frightening ones? It is laughable at first, and then murder rages. Jacob Portman is thrown into a web of secrets and therapy and then travel where he finds out that his grandfather was not lying. On this journey, you will meet the big hawk who smokes a pipe, a girl who flies, the boy who jumpstarts the dead and the girl who is embarrassed of her back mouth.
What intrigued me most is the idea of the time loop that kept the peculiars alive. I think it is a stroke of genius. By time loop, I do not in any way mean time travel. You would have to read the book to get a hang of it. I really wonder how the likes of J.K Rowling, C.S Lewis and now Ransom Riggs write like they do. One thing these three have in common is a vivid imagination that allows them create. Haven’t you ever wondered how J.K Rowling created the spells, curses, fantastic beasts in her books? You will meet terms like dwights, ymbrynes and hollowgasts in this book and you will realize that they have come to stay with this generation.
I was very dissatisfied with the end. This is not me suggesting that conflict be resolved at the end of a story, or that happy or tragic endings are the best way to go. It was too open-ended. This does not mean it allowed you come to your own conclusions. It was just an open tunnel and the waves from the sea were all in your face. Alas, there are two sequels: Hollow City and Library of Souls. Problem solved. I will be sure to write a review when I read the sequels.
Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
Published by Harper Collins
Spoiler Alert: Elizabeth is not missing. I actually thought her hot-tempered son, Peter had killed her. But the damned woman had a stroke.
This book hit close to home for me. Two years leading up to the death of my paternal grandma, she suffered from schizophrenia. It was terrifying, confusing and heartbreaking to watch. One thing I always wondered was what was going on in her head. It could get frustrating for we, her family but I couldn’t imagine how lost and afraid she was that she was losing herself.
Maud is not mad. She has dementia. It wasn’t until the end of the book that I realized that an eighty-two-year-old forgetful woman must have left huge gaps in the story. She must have been told again and again, that her friend Elizabeth was in the hospital but she forgot to tell us. How convenient.
I have a soft spot for parallel universes because of comics and Emma Healey won me over with this. When I reread, having now known Maud, I suspect that the thought that her friend was missing triggered the memories of another event that happened in the 1940s – her sister Sukey went missing and was never found. The story is more Sukey than Elizabeth. This way, Emma Healey presented two conflicts at the same time and didn’t fail to resolve them.
You will like Maud. You will want to give her a hug. You will want to hold her hand and tell her everything was going to be okay. You will want to hide away her the tins of peach slices and organize her little notes so that she wouldn’t feel so lost. You will also want to give Helen, her long-suffering daughter, a pat on the back, because this is all so hard and confusing for her too.
I like the characters. I like the plot. I like the language. You will have to be patient though because you are in the mind of old forgetful Maud, but if you stay with her till the end, you will realize that she is going the right way. It is no wonder that nine publishers were bidding to publish and television rights were sold before the book was released.