Peregrines are Peculiar Birds
The books have been around for a while. Heck, I think my daughters (both of them. And that’s the weird part of it) read them before I got to them. I know they saw the movie before I did. And that is where it starts for me, sort of, kinda, but maybe not really.
So yeah, I’m talking about Mrs. Peregrine Home for Peculiar Children (I always remember it as school for gifted children but that’s the X-Men taking over my thoughts). I want to say I saw the movie first but then I would be wrong, sorta, kinda, but not really.
Actually this all goes back to a class I took a while back. It was a young adult fiction class. Good stuff, the guy who taught it was a bit of a geek like me and really dug through comics and stuff as well as quite a bit of the literature (I think he might be one of those geeks that studies super heroes as mythological beings. You know, the true crazies). We spent a bit of time looking through the Peculiar Children books, though we didn’t read them. It was enough for me to have an idea of what they were about. I knew I wanted to see the movie, even without actually reading the books.
And I liked the movie. My wife did too. It wasn’t earth shaking or enough to stand out as a huge success for me but it was enjoyable. I liked the playout of the story and the monsters really brought a Cthulhu theme to mind for me. I figured I would get to the books eventually but it was enough to at least see the movie for the time being.
That changed when I was digging through the new graphic novels at one of the libraries I frequent. One of the librarians and I in the young adult area spend a decent amount of time talking movies and comics when I find her there. This gives me a bit of an in when I can suggest comics and such that they should add to the collection. Of course it also gives me an edge for picking up the new stuff when it comes in. And I might have forgotten where I was going with this…
So yeah, comics…
It was a couple days after we saw the movie that I happened across the second Peculiar book as the graphic novel. And they didn’t have the first one (the third one isn’t out yet). It pays to be there when the librarian that does the ordering is there and your friend is working that will vouch for your reading choices. We had the missing volume ordered and my name on the reserves for when it came in.
I picked up both the first and second graphic novel at the same time and proceeded to blow through them. The stories are great and of course, they are not the movie. As the normal order of the day for movies goes, there are changes that go into condensing stories into the smaller forms for viewing consumption (those be some big gooey words). Anyway, after I burned through them I did some mental math and realized a few things about them. At the time I was thinking the movie was a bit of the first two books but in a slightly deranged way. And if that were all of it, I could leave it at that and know that I enjoyed the differences in the stories in the forms I had gone through them.
Until I got to the third book.
This is where it drops off a bit for me. Like I said, the third book isn’t available in graphic novel form yet. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I mean, I do read regular books and stories all the time. I go through the whole geeky gamut of movies, books, comics, hell games if I can. But there is something about the different formats that can play a part in how you interpret the stories.
While I have been reading the third book I noticed that I haven’t been able to fly through it like I did the other stories. Sure text takes a little longer for me than comics but it is more than that. It took me a bit to figure it out though. And then it jumped out at me. The books are written in first person.
First person narration isn’t exclusive to young adult stories but a good number of them are written in that voice. That style is easy to get sucked into the world of the story and allows for the reader to see themselves as part of the action. It can be easier for a younger reader to let go of the real world. Sometimes it works and sometimes it can be a chore.
And for me, it has been a chore. The writing isn’t bad. I mean to say the story still pulls you in and you are still part of the world. But after the other ways of experiencing the story it feels a bit alien to me to experience it like this. There are parts where it just doesn’t feel like the same story and characters that I have been reading and viewing before now.
Like I said, it is slow going for me on this one. I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of it and I find myself looking at other reading materials in distraction. I do plan to finish it but there are times I wonder if it would be better to wait for the third graphic novel.
The graphic novels didn’t give me the trouble that this book is giving me. I think the only complaint I might have had about them is the art isn’t quite my preferred style. It is a hasty internet comic style that doesn’t have the polish of many of the others that I read. It’s a choice that can affect how you read and enjoy the story just as much as the perspective used in a written story.
Sometimes it just takes a bit to get into the feel of the story in whatever form it is in. And it isn’t the first time I have ever run across it. A bit of same subject but different source… Stuff like this always reminds me of the Lord of the Rings stories.
My first encounter with the stories was with the cartoons in the 70s. The Hobbit and Return of the King were classics that are still with me today. And then I tried to read them. It took me about 9 years off and on to read The Hobbit. I didn’t even get to the Lord of the Rings books till my mid 20s.
I couldn’t get into Tolkien’s writing style. The man could tell some great stories but I just didn’t like his books. Even now I would rather watch the movies than read the books again.
I could go so far as to say that Shakespeare or Poe fall into a similar category. But this is a great thing about how many choices we have today. If the story resonates enough, there is always a way to find it in a form that will resonate with you. And speaking of Poe and different forms, I want to call attention to a friends book this week. If you ever get a chance check out Jeri Walker’s book Popular Poe Stories in Plain English. You might find a new way to enjoy something classic.