Monday, February 6, 2017

Book vs. Film: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My son, unfortunately, is not as big a reader as I am. He's a good reader and does it every night for homework, however he never actively seeks out reading for entertainment even though he sees me doing it every single day for that very reason. We've read together since he was little, but from the very beginning it was at my request and not his. I've come to realize that he's more like my husband in this respect and I can appreciate our differences. However, that does not mean I'll give up trying to convert him!

To this end, I recently made him a deal: if he would read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children with me than I would take him to see the movie version that he was excited to see. We would then compare the two and see which we preferred. The lure of an afternoon out with a movie, popcorn, and soda swayed him and he agreed to my deal. So, we set out to read 20-30 minutes a night, taking turns reading aloud. Below you'll find our opinions of both the book and the movie version. In case you haven't heard of either, here's the synopsis:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

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.


The Book

Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #1
Publisher: Quirk
Pub. Date: June 7th, 2011
Pages: 352

As I stated above, the reason my son agreed to read this particular story with me was because he wanted to see the movie and I said I would take him only after we read the story first. I'm shameless in my pursuit to make him a bigger reader! As we started to read the story I quickly realized that this book was targeted towards an audience a little older than my son (he's eleven). There's quite a bit of cursing and crude humor that I wasn't expecting which, probably not surprising to anyone familiar with preteen boys, my son found HILARIOUS! I made a deal with him that, although we don't allow him to curse, I would allow it in the context of reading the story. Needless to say, these aspects of the story were possibly his favorite parts, along with the humor that the author naturally and effectively incorporated into the storyline and within the various teenage characters. All of the characters are so unique and well drawn that it was easy to visualize them throughout this fantastical story, helped along with the fascinating and sometimes eerie photos sprinkled amongst the narrative (something else my son very much enjoyed). We laughed quite a bit while reading to each other, which is always a pleasure when reading together!

On the downside, it did take quite a bit of time for any real adventure or action to occur (about 100 pages). For a reader like my son, this slower progression became somewhat daunting and there were a few times he almost wanted to throw in the towel. With a little persuasion we kept reading and were pleasantly surprised once the main character, Jacob, discovered the mysteries behind Miss Peregrine's home and the wonderful friends he discovered there and, towards the end, fought to protect. There are some frightful creatures that add danger and depth to the story and towards the end we often read past our 30 minutes allotted to reading just so we could see what would happen.

Overall this was an interesting, uniquely told story that both my son and I enjoyed. The photos, sometimes crude humor and language, and fantastical world created were by far my son's favorite aspects and I found the whole story different than my typical read and quite entertaining. The story left off on a cliffhanger, making for the perfect stepping off point for the upcoming book in the series. However, after much discussion, we aren't completely sure we want to continue with the series, at least not right now. The fact that the writing styles is slightly too old for my son and YA isn't something I naturally gravitate towards myself, we've decided to hold off for a while and pick another book or series to read together. But I'm sure we will return to Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children in the future!

Rating: we both rated the book 3.0/5.0

The Movie

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: September 30th, 2016
Length: 127 minutes

The filmmakers did an outstanding job of bringing this story to life. Some of the harder concepts for my son to understand within the story - such as time loops and the female Peculiars who protected the children, called Ymbrynes - were easier for him to process when explained and shown visually. The graphics were phenomenal and some of the more fantastical creatures were quite scary (they didn't frighten my son but I mention this as they might scare younger children).  

As with any movie there were changes and cuts from the story due to time constraints and story flow. There were some changes that I found unnecessary, however, and I always prefer when they keep the story and the characters as close to the original story as possible. My son, when asked, much preferred the movie (which didn't surprise me) and was only disappointed that the crude language and humor was dulled down in the movie (also not a surprise).

As with the novel, the movie left off on a cliffhanger and perfectly sets up the story to continue in follow up movies. I can definitely see my son pressuring me to take him to the next film long before he volunteers to read the next novel. However, I enjoyed both forms of the story even if neither blew me away. Maybe by the time the next movie is set to come out my son will be that little bit older and will enjoy the next installment in the book series that much more!

Rating: 4.0/5.0 (my son)  3.0/5.0 (me) 

Has anyone else read the story or watched the movie? If so, what did you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment