Saturday, June 29, 2013

Peculiar Children

I realize I'm a couple years behind the times, but I just finished Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children this week. The fact that it's only been out for two years is actually pretty impressive; I'm generally not one read a new release unless it's part of a series I'm already reading or it has been out for several years and generally well-liked. (Which still means nothing *cough*Water for Elephants*cough*.) Even an author I already know and love doesn't necessarily warrant rushing out to read something. (I still haven't read Mary Roach's Packing for Mars, let alone Gulp.)

Anyway, I managed to force myself to the library a while back to get a card, and now I can check out kindle books from the comfort and laziness of my own home! (Did I mention it's 1000 degrees outside and I'm 30 months weeks pregnant? I scowl at everyone who tells me the time has just flown by. Maybe for the people who didn't vomit in their sleep last week. So yeah, pregnancy definitely agrees with me, no?) They don't always have what I want, and there's usually a few days' wait, but it is more convenient than actually going to the library, and I'm definitely too cheap to buy a book I don't know if I'd want to read again.

Which brings me to Miss Peregrine. I had a general idea of what the book was about, but it turns out it was very general and not particularly accurate. At any rate, the book wasn't what I expected. Which isn't to say that it was bad, it's just kind of unsettling when you're like, "Oh. So it actually takes the first third of the book to even get to the home for peculiar kids. Okay." I guess I just assumed that it was set there not discovered. Whatever, that's my fault.

You know what's not my fault? The book has the crappiest "Wait for the sequel!" non-ending of any book I've ever read. I get that people want to leave their books (and movies) open for a sequel. It's a business, and this is about maintaining revenue stream. But that doesn't mean each installment can't have an ending of its own. For example: the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie definitely ends. Curse is lifted, Jack's back on the Black Pearl, everybody's happy.  But it leaves it open--Jack's got his compass, bring me that horizon, new adventures, etc. Who knows what madcap thing he'll do next! The second movie, though...la la la, it's ending, everything's great--bam! Barbosa's still alive! (I refuse to give a spoiler alert for a movie that's been out for seven years. If you haven't seen it by now, that's hardly my problem. I'm a big believer in spoiler statute of limitations.) It's opening a whole can of question worms, but oh ho ho, you'll just have to wait and see in the next movie. I hate that.

Unfortunately, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children doesn't have an ending at all. Here's what it feels like. Author spends half the book world-building, trying to figure out what story he's trying to tell. Author finally figures out the story, gets into the action, realizes, "Crap, I'm running out of pages to finish this properly!" Author tacks on a last line that is supposed to be some sort of dramatic, literary ending. It is not. I don't even know what the denouement is supposed to be. I mean, there's a small fight scene, but the purpose of it is actually to inform the main characters of the real conflict, which you won't actually see until book two. I have no patience for this. I wasn't swept up enough with the book or the characters to want to read a whole nother book to find out what's actually happening. If I wanted to read half a book, I would have read half a book and then given up on it, like I usually do!

So that's annoying, and I can't really recommend this book. I mean, I was all on board until I got to the "end." I was like, "Wait, is that it?" and had to click back and forth to check. (The downside to a Kindle is when you still have six percent of the book left but it turns out that's all just end filler and pages from the sequel [which should have been part of the first book to begin with.] It can be rather confusing.) The sequel comes out next month, so I guess if you're interested, you can start reading the first one now and then find out what actually happens when the second half of this story comes out next month. Blerg.

The other thing that bothers me is that I heard the other day that Tim Burton is going to direct the movie of the book. So, that will be terrible. You know why? For the same reason that Helena Bonham Carter gets every "crazy lady with wild hair" role that comes along. Because as they get older, they become more and more hardened into this particular type. Tim Burton did the Michael Keaton Batmans, you guys! Can you imagine the director of the creepy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remake doing Batman now? No, because all he does now is weird and/or macabre stuff. There is no Pee-wee's Big Adventure for him anymore. Whether he's put himself in the niche or has been pushed there, the man really only does one kind of movie. And the thing with Peregrine is that it needs a subtlety and nuance that his recent movies lack. If the WHOLE WORLD of the movie is weird, than there's nothing peculiar about these children. Can he really show the dichotomy between the commons and the peculiars if everything he does is peculiar? I dunno, but I don't hold a lot of hope.

So there you have it, a bajillion words about a book that I didn't dislike while I was reading but ended up being seriously disappointed with when I finished it.

2 comments:

  1. I love when you post. Your blog (often) makes me laugh.

    And yes, we're 6 weeks behind you guys with a girl. I'm sorry about Arizona being so hot. And the vomit.

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  2. I hate that about a book. Especially when it's obvious that there HAS to be another book because there are a zillion questions that didn't get answered. On purpose.
    Curses.
    I do love that you save me having to read the book now though. Sorry that it wasn't good.
    If I had any time at all right now I'd suggest that we read and recommend. Twice as many books, skip half the bad ones.

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Be nice.