During the first week of my sophomore year, my literature class and I were given a tour of our high school library. Towards the end of her presentation, our media specialist pulled up a book trailer video about a story titled Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. While the book was lesser known by my classmates, I excitedly jumped to the edge of my seat, having already been introduced to the amazingly twisted world of Ransom Riggs.
Later that fall my best friend and I planned to attend a young adult author's convention in Charleston, South Carolina. Having found out about the festival due to my dedicated following of writer Veronica Roth (author of Divergent), we decided that before going, we would read as many books by as many authors attending as we could. Among that list was Ransom Riggs. When the day of the event finally came, my best friend and I stood in line for over an hour, anxiously, giddily, awaiting the arrival of Ransom and his then fiance, Tahereh Mafi.
Among my most prized possessions, is my own personal copy of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children- complete with a signed bookplate. After getting food poisoning, Ransom passed out bookplates to all of those that had all waited to see him at the convention. However, luckily, my best friend and I had already met Ransom and Tahereh earlier in the day. "Ransom Riggs puked and all I got was this stupid sticker," reads the label inside my book nowadays, and it is both hilarious and true to Ransom's own personality.
For the years following my run-in with royalty, I greedily followed Ransom and Tahereh on every social media outlet possible. Jokingly, my best friend and I called them our "adoptive parents," the people we would beg to live with if we ever needed a back-up living arrangement. Through Snapchat I watched them travel over the world, drinking coffee and exploring all the places I've always dreamed about. I watched them love life and each other.
Beginning around the start of 2015, news began to surface. Slated to be directed by film legend Tim Burton, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was to become a movie. A MOVIE! To say I was excited is an understatement. Again, through Snapchat and other apps I was able to watch as the actors were casted, production was started, and the final piece was edited. A full 3 years after I had found the magic of Miss P, it debuted.
Opening on September 30, 2016, I dragged my mother to the theatre (like I had so, so many times before), ready for the exact moment the showing would begin in my hometown. However, because of issues with the theatre equipment, we had to leave without having seen the movie.
Talk about disappointment. I couldn't wait until I would have the chance to go back, in the hopes of actually seeing the movie.
This past Wednesday night, I had my chance. Although most movie to book adaptions don't live up to my expectations, I clung to the hope that Miss Peregrine's would be different. And in many regards, it was. Like the true book nerd that I am, I have to rate the movie as a solid 60-65% similar to the novel- better than The Maze Runner films, but not as close as The Hunger Games. Yet, I enjoyed it. The haunting eyes of the wights and murderous frames of the hollowgasts once again appeared as if from a nightmare. The spark between Jacob and Emma was again lit. The bizarre, peculiar children and Miss P again captured my heart.
Aesthetically, the film was also definitely Burton-esque, down to even its smallest details. As a fan of both movies and books, I understand that in translation between the two, some things must be forfeited. In the case of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, I was ultimately pleased with such a compromise.
"That's what I want to do when I grow up," I laughed to myself as I left the theatre. "That. I want to write a book that becomes a movie. Just like that," I smiled.
And a truer statement has never been spoken. Just as Miss Peregrine described the stories Jacob had been taught by his grandfather, those “fictions, whoppers and paradiddles" are exactly where I see myself heading. Maybe that's my peculiarity.