Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – The Graphic Novel

 

PeregrinesHomeLong ago I saw this book on the shelves. Something about the title struck me and it stayed in the back of my mind. Roll around to Christmas time and I notice that they have converted the original text into a graphic novel. A book I was interested in, now in picture form? Sign me up. Come Christmas morning (well not really, it was boxing day) I geek out as I find a handful of books in graphic novel form.

I will say this now, there are spoilers in the rambling below. I’ll avoid letting the ending away, but you have been warned. There is also lots of talk about the design/art side of this book. A bit of a unique addition since most of the books I have don’t lead themselves to that possibility.

style

I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the drawn artwork in contrast to the old black and white photos. It was nice to see the picture of the little girl that had grabbed me when I was walking around the bookstore was still present.

That day (boxing day) I read the first chapter of the book. One night this week I finished the other seven. Its odd, with pictures everyone can interpret them a little different so the ‘story’ will read differently. But seeing as how when you read, you definitely pick up different subtext based on your own experiences, it’s not so different.

Style wise it was almost nice that I had had the few week divide between the two reading sessions. The book starts when the protagonist (Jacob) is a kid. He’s listening to his grandfather tell stories of when he was a kid and lived at a group home. The styling shows that time in Jacob’s life all in color. The book then skips to Jacob’s “present day” when he is roughly a teenager. Now the world / book is in black and white.

I like about graphic novels is how the pictures exceed their frames. For instance in this one the monster's tongue leaves the first pane to drape over the second in one spot and free fall to the third in another. It gives the lingering feeling that the character is still feeling after seeing the monster. Hence he still has nightmares.

I like about graphic novels is how the pictures exceed their frames. For instance in this one the monster’s tongue leaves the first pane to drape over the second in one spot and free fall to the third in another. It gives the lingering feeling that the character is still feeling after seeing the monster. Hence he still has nightmares.

Jacob has grown to realize the stories his grandfather Abe told him as a kid were lies. He has grown somewhat apart from his grandfather in the interim years, but as we enter the story anew he is dropping in on his grandfather. Only he isn’t there, he has left the place in shambles and Jacob follows the path to find Abe dying. With his time winding down he leaves Jacob a peculiar riddle that he is unable to make sense of. Then he sees a monster and his world is turned upside down. He is forced to see a psychologist and through a series of events goes to the town where his grandfather was a kid.

Color_01While he is there he eventually hunts down the house where Abe lived before becoming a soldier in WWII. He is looking at the wreckage that is the house when all of a sudden, as readers, we see a hint of color again. This was all after chapter one so I had even forgotten that the beginning had any color at all. A small sign that perhaps the magic that Jacob believed in as a kid actually exists. Color_02The kids, realizing it’s Jacob and not Abe, run away. Jacob does his best to follow them but loses them. However, he continues to roam. After another series of events he finds them and finds himself in front of the house his grandfather had always described. The world is now, solidly, in color.

Contrast_02Jacob immerses himself in the world of his grandfather and (spoiler) realizes he is peculiar too. That’s why he could see the monster in the forest the day his grandfather died. As soon as he makes that connection he is shown blue like the other characters were when he first saw them. Fun little call back by the artist. It soon transpires that the peculiars are under attack, but if you want to know from what you’ll just have to read the book (or graphic novel) yourself.

Overlapping_01Juxtaposition_01Style-wise I enjoyed this spread. The artist took liberties, allowing the characters to interact even though in the story they are all ‘performing’ separately. In the flow of the left page, each girl being about the same perspective, works with the overlapping dynamic. Emma’s arms and fire lead you to the boulder Bronwyn is holding. Then Claire’s frame ‘overlaps’ the two to make sure you go left to see her before moving along to the next page. On the right page of the spread is a different composition. I will say it again: I love the juxtaposition in this book. With the contrast of size each character is treated in an equivalent manner even though they aren’t equal perspectives. If Hugh would have truly been back to back with Fiona his bees would have lost some of their impact. Likewise if Fiona would have been enlarged to the same size it wouldn’t have had the same effect. Then we have Jacob small at the bottom, perhaps speaking to how he is feeling when thrown into the world of the peculiar. This ‘show’ the peculiars are performing to show him what they can do happens before he puts the pieces together about himself.

Then we have this panel set. The dad goes from 0-10 on the anger scale in that matter of seconds:

Peregrins_01Peregrins_02Peregrins_03Peregrins_04

I think my favorite is the last panel. You can see that he is just so done. And then girl’s just chilling in the air all ‘hi’ and polite. Dad is not ready to handle your shenanigans kiddos.

That’s it. That’s my review. I liked the story and it was fun reading a picture book again. It’s been ages.

Until next time
~ Q

2015 Reading Challenge

  1. A book with more than 500 pages
  2. A classic romance
  3. A book that became a movie
  4. A book published this year
  5. A book with a number in the title
  6. A book written by someone under 30
  7. A book with nonhuman characters
  8. A funny book
  9. A book by a female author
  10. A mystery or a thriller
  11. A book with a one-word title
  12. A book of short stories
  13. A book set in a different country
  14. A nonfiction book
  15. A popular author’s first book
  16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet
  17. A book a friend recommended
  18. A Pulitzer Prize-winning book
  19. A book based on a true story
  20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list
  21. A book your mom loves
  22. A book that scares you
  23. A book more than 100 years old
  24. A book based entirely on it’s cover
  25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
  26. A memoir
  27. A book you can finish in a day
  28. A book with antonyms in the title
  29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
  30. A book that came out the year you were born
  31. A book with bad reviews
  32. A trilogy
  33. A book from your chlidhood
  34. A book with a love triangle
  35. A book set in the future
  36. A book set in high school
  37. A book with a color in the title
  38. A book that made you cry
  39. A book with magic
  40. A graphic novel: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  41. A book by an author you’ve never read before
  42. A book that you own but have never read
  43. A book that takes place in your hometown
  44. A book that was originally written in a different language
  45. A book set during Christmas
  46. A book written by an author with your same initials
  47. A play
  48. A banned book
  49. A book based on or turned into a TV show
  50. A book you started but never finished

[Audio]Book Review: John Dies at The End

John DiesIf you want an example of an anti-hero David Wong is a pretty good example. He spends most of one chapter, for example, wishing he had followed through with his plans to eat an entire pie in one sitting instead of helping his friend John sort out a crime scene. Class act. To be fair he is repeatedly served a large stack of crap crackers he definitely didn’t ask for and in a clutch he does step up. In the end he does what is needed to be done and starts to put others (well a couple other specific people) ahead of himself. I get ahead of myself though.

John Dies at the End is a book written by David Wong (also the main character) and narrated by Stephen R. Thorn. Thorn does an excellent job of enhancing the literary experience by capturing Wong’s implied attitude so thoroughly in his voice and inflections.

Although I don’t usually seek out curt (and occasionally vulgar) writing I enjoyed the abrupt writing style in this case. Is this the most eloquent book ever? No. Was it entertaining? Oh yeah. Was it an easy read (listen)? Yes. Did it keep me wondering what would happen next? Yes. I could go on with the questions, but what’s the point?

An EXTREMELY watered down synopsis would be that this book is about a guy who ‘survived’ some pretty terrible stuff and is in the process of trying to figure out how to live his life after the fact. It’s told in a series of flash backs as he shares his story with (spoiler) a reporter.

This book will definitely be added to the ‘listen while working’ list. Since it’s a series of anecdotes it’s easy to zone in and out and not miss to much. Although I’m sure the abrupt ending will bug me every time I reach it. ~ Q

[Audio]Book Review: Bossypants

BossypantsTina Fey, what can I say? I’ve always enjoyed the stuff she was in, but for whatever I didn’t put two and two together to realize she writes a lot of her material. If you are looking for a quick paced anecdotal walk through a comedians life this one is definitely worth the read. If you are looking for a book about a person who has climbed to the top of their field it’s worth the read. Or perhaps you’re looking for a book about how a woman juggles career and kids, this touches that as well.

I would recommend this book to any of my friends. If you happen to get the audiobook you get the added bonus of Tina Fey actually reading it. I usually enjoy when authors read their own work. Sometimes emphasis can get misinterpreted from the author’s intention to the narrators performance. When the author reads it themselves the intent is clear. Also Fey’s timing that makes her such a great performer/writer enhances the book experience.

Perhaps the reason I enjoyed this book so much was that it didn’t feel like a biography (or autobiography in this case). I was just being told a series of stories, an anthology if you will, that all happened to be about the very real Fey (as opposed to fae, the mythical fairy creatures). If all of my nonficition books I read this year are as enjoyable as this was I wont have any issues keeping my resolution to read three. Obviously I’m 1/3 of the way there with this little gold nugget.

Until next time
~ Q

Condition Blue…

Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?

I don’t do well under pressure. I freeze up and then over react emotionally. I have vague imprints of reacting well when in a jam but I can’t call them to the front of my mind to evaluate them. Readily available are times where I reacted disproportionately poorly with a given stimulus.

Honestly, I can’t recall any real crises I’ve endured. Oh, unless you count accidents, I’ve been in a couple of those. In that given set of circumstances I was able to keep calm until I had an appropriate moment in which I was able to break down. Then I cried and after a few moments of self pity (or shock or whatever) I moved on. I get’s that’s my M.O. Repress/suppress emotions until a time that they can be drudged up and dealt with properly. Until that time I have things to do.

Obviously given my knee-jerk reaction I don’t put pressure and crisis in the same category. Given enough pressure I do not do nearly so well. I think the difference is that a crisis is an isolated incident where as pressure can build up over time, unnoticed, until it just gets to be too much and then there is a volcano of emotion. Obviously volcanoes are rarely good (I can’t think of an instance when an eruption was good but I’m sure there’s been one instance, right?).

All in all I think my crisis reactions are satisfactory for now, I don’t plan on improving them since to do that I’d have to go through them. However if the instances arise I hope I can preform better than I have in the best, there is always room for improvement. I am not happy with my reaction to everyday pressure though, usually I’m able to shrug it off, I just need to find constructive outlets to de-stress at night to ensure residual pressure from the day isn’t carried over into the next day. That way there should be no pressures right?

Maybe I’ve acknowledged this on a subconscious level and that’s why I decided to pick up volleyball and music. Exercise always releases endorphins and is a good release in and of itself. Even playing my piddly chords the last few nights has chilled me right out for bed. It unwinds me more than anything else, especially reading since I get so caught up in what is happening to the character(s) (WHY DID SHE JUST JUMP OFF A BUILDING?!).

So long answer summed up: Yes, I’m happy with how I react in a real crisis. I’m working on being happier for my reaction to everyday ‘crises’.

I Have No Memory Of This Place

ImageThis morning I awoke to find myself in a new place. Or perhaps and old one since it seems ‘broken in’. On the dresser next to the bed there is a book with a cell phone shoved in to mark a page. Almost as if the person was reading late into the night and got so tired they grabbed the first thing their hands touched. Drawers are left ajar, same with boxes, as if the person who opened them needs not to worry about someone else seeing the contents or running into them. My eye leaves the immediate area and focuses out into the rest of the room where one of two book shelves traps my attention. I arise to look at the books. The shelf is filled with fiction books, mainly dividing into either the fantasy/science fiction genre or mystery. Whoever belongs here spends a great deal of time being somewhere else (mentally). Above the shelf is a ‘wrought iron’ inspired rod that coordinates both with the bed and other pieces scattered about the room, as if the person who lives here likes the classics. However the black tie with lime green polka dots hint as something more. Clearly there is a person who lives here that has multiple fascinations (sketchbook on the bedside dresser filled with half completed sketches and a notebook filled with indecipherable half notes).

Fun prompt today that is quite timely. Just yesterday I rearranged the apartment so somethings are in my room that weren’t in there before, like my second book shelf and computer. To be honest the redecorating began Friday night and still isn’t done. Mainly because I’m easily distracted and not the most diligent. A lazy weekend of slowly moving stuff is what I’ve doomed myself to, but it’s such a bast!

This is my life [Daily Prompt]

If you could read a book containing all that has happened and will ever happen in your life, would you? If you choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover.

No, I wouldn’t. Sure there would be bits I’d like a clue on, but that’s it. If I could just read the chapter titles I’d be satisified, but the whole thing? No. What would the point be in living it if I already knew what was going to happen? Obviously there would still be a point, but half the joy of living is the constant adventure of unwinding the time oneself and discovering the twists and turns. If you knew ahead of time, for instance, that you would have a flat tire in the middle of nowhere Texas and would then meet a friendly British fellow named Gerald R. Snookums the shock factor would be taken right out. Who would expect that? Only someone who read it ahead of time. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’d still be amused by Gerald but the initial shock would be reduced to near nothingness. Also, I’m not 100% sure I want to relive all the glories of the past. They happened once and the occasional reminiscing through the filter of time and memory is enough for me.

Life is an adventure lived one page at a time.

1984 – so glad I wasn’t alive yet [Daily Prompt]

1984-posterThe last time I read something that bit or stung me would probably be this summer with George Orwell’s 1984. I’m not entirely sure that it counts though since I didn’t actually finish the book. I kept waiting and waiting for that section that would take me in and urge me to devour the rest of the book. Instead I just kept forcing myself to go chapter by chapter until I decided to give up and read some fluffy piece. However there were lots of themes that made me think and I’m captivated by the Ministry of Misinformation and the extremeness of the society in which Winston lives daily. It’s not shocking he’s alone, in that world where children are encouraged to eavesdrop and report back to the government how could you ever trust anything when you can’t even trust your child. Crazy doesn’t begin to cover it.