The book-worm in me often cringes when I watch a movie based on a novel that I’ve loved. The visual medium inevitably requires changes and how a film maker translates the characters, compresses the plot or deletes elements entirely, can feel like a betrayal of the original text.
I think the key to Ms Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’s success, is that the movie doesn’t try to replicate the book exactly. The children still travel through time, fight monsters and embrace their ‘peculiarity’, whilst dealing with the young adult themes of dysfunctional families, first love and independence – they just manage it differently than how they did in the book.
The New York Times Bestselling Ms Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was my 2015 pick for our book club and what drew me to the novel was not just the great story, but the story behind the story. The book contains a large number of vintage black and white photos, each with a visual trick.
The author’s collection of vintage photographs served as the inspiration for the story. Take a moment to look through Ransom Riggs’ website which carries the macabre tone of the novel through. If you want a full breakdown there’s a lot of love on Wikipedia.
I’m devoted to my Kindle but this book really does come to life in paper format. The latest edition has a colour representation of the movie on the cover – I prefer the eerie black and white myself but perhaps the full colour might serve to introduce this wonderful novel to new readers.
The graphic novel
Two members of our book club actually thought I meant the graphic novel format. It actually worked out well, as this adaptation by Cassandra Jean is also excellent.
Happy reading and/or watching!