Chapter 1 Summary
Ransom Riggs’s novel Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2011) follows a sixteen-year-old narrator as he investigates his grandfather’s very strange past. Jacob has always been fascinated by his grandfather’s stories even though he often had trouble believing they were true. But as he was growing up, Jacob found his Grandpa Portman to be the most fascinating person in his life. Jacob hoped to be just like his grandfather, who had fought in wars, explored the world, worked in circuses, and spoke several different languages. When Jacob was still a young boy, he told his grandfather that when he grew up, he wanted to be an explorer. His grandfather liked that idea and encouraged Jacob’s dream by helping him study maps and imagine trips he might one day take.
But as Jacob began to reach his teenage years, he became disappointed; he realized that many, if not most, of his grandfather’s stories were possibly untrue. Some of the most fantastic tales concerned the orphanage in Wales in which Grandpa Portman was raised. According to his grandfather, the place was protected by a wise hawk who disallowed monsters, sickness, or death to enter.
The children who lived in the orphanage were peculiar, Grandpa said. There was a girl who could fly, a boy in whom bees lived, and two young children who could lift boulders over their heads as if they were made of paper. When Jacob told his grandfather that he was having trouble believing his stories, Grandpa Portman produced photographs of the children. Jacob thought the photos might be fake, but he believed his grandfather just as other boys his age believed in Santa Claus. Jacob believed his grandfather because he wanted to believe.
Jacob’s father once told him that Grandpa Portman’s stories were not exactly lies. He explained that his father had lived in Poland during World War II and had been sent away to escape the Nazis. Grandpa Portman was the only...
(The entire section is 595 words.)