Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Audio Book Review: "Miss Peregrine's Home..."

I have recently given up on “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”.  I listened to it as an audio book from Audible and that hurt it severely as the guy doing the reading was awful. That being said I can list many good things about the story that if not for a particular fatal flaw would have made me love it, but as is they just feel like a lot of wasted potential.

This book.  This is the book.

1)      I like the underlying themes of reliving things, a form of time travel is in the story and that plays along with the setting that time forgot and the pictures of the peculiar children, the strange swamp mummy that is in the little town’s museum, and allusions made to family legacies.
2)     I like the fascinating backstory about the protagonist's Grandfather, if there had been no supernatural elements and the story had just been about a kid finding out his grandfather's tragic life fleeing Poland and then having his adopted home in Wales bombed by the Nazi’s it would have been great on its own.
3)     The scenes in which real action and tension are happening are great, the death of the grandfather which kicks off the story is tense and awesome.
4)     The creepy/strangeness of the supernatural elements are great; they have the feel of a more magical Addams Family or a Tim Burton movie (hence why his choice to direct the movie adaptation was a smart one).

               But here is the fatal flaw: the main character is crap.  He is an entitled stupid asshole who mentions being in lots of honors courses, but aside from occasionally using a word you would see in an ACT prep book there is no indication of his intellect.  I think I muttered, "Go fuck yourself" multiple times when listening to him try and blunder his way thru a conversation any halfway intelligent person would have anticipated and planned for (again maybe it had to do with the voice actor whose constant upward inflection, like every sentence was a question or statement of being confused made the character sound like even more of an idiot).
The protagonist (whose actual name I have forgotten) isn't a complete blank slate like Harry Potter, so the audience can’t just jump into him and pretend they are the one on the adventure.  The lead also is not clever or funny so I don't enjoy being along for the ride on his adventure.  He's just a jerk and I don't have the patience to see how his character arc manifests.

The book also does not give me the impression that Miss Peregrine was hot like the surface of the sun.
I don't know whether to think of this as a miscasting or the filmmakers making something better in the adaptation?

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1 comment:

  1. The book is better read in part because of the way the photographs are used to illustrate and expound on the themes. The book is also a little more - justifiably - heavy handed in its themes of perceived "others" fearing for their lives under the threat of persecution and scapegoating, drawing allusions to the holocaust (mildly downplayed in the movie) and the Tudor persecution of Catholics in medieval Britain. The timelessness of scapegoating and persecution and the necessity of keeping them at bay was what I got out of both versions - diluted more than it should have been in the movie by having a wacky Samuel L. Jackson as a villain whose lines almost entirely boil down to "loook at me I'm craaaaazzzyyy!!!!"
    Agree on the general forgettable nature of the protagonist.

    As for the questionable casting choice(s)? First, sell the tickets and fill the seats.