My Thoughts About Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past by Ransom Riggs (Book Review #55)

The book is a coffee table type book containing a collection of old photographs found by the Ransom Riggs throughout his life. In the introduction he describes how he has since been fascinated with old pictures particularly those that have inscriptions either at the back or front. He then tells that his fascination began when he was young during those times when he’s accompanying his mother to different antique shops and flea markets.

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Ransom Riggs is best known for his young adult novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, its sequel Hollow City and the third book, Library of Souls which is yet to be released. The author incorporated his love for old pictures by adding unusual and bizarre pictures in his books. I have already read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and yet to read Hollow City and I can say that those pictures really added extra creepiness to the story.

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The book is divided into sections that shows different themes, from love, tragedy, longings and my most favorite, humor. Some of the photos got me thinking as to who they were and what kind of lives they led. There are photos of weddings and funerals, girlfriends, wives and family members waiting for the return of their loved ones from the war, family vacations, people goofing around and people’s candid shots. The seven sections includes: Clowning Around, Love and Marriage, Times of Trouble, Life During Wartime, Janet Lee, Hide This Please, and Unsolved Mysteries. The chapter entitled “Janet Lee” is heartbreaking. It showed the life and death of a girl thru the pictures. I can’t help but feel connected to whatever stories that are behind those pictures.

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I love the concept of the book. Browsing through the pages feels like I am being transported during those old times when the photos were being taken. It’s like being taken on a journey through the lives of those that are in the photos. I felt a connection to a lot of the photos despite not knowing any of them. I found myself laughing at times, sad, excited and reminisce at those honest and naive human moments captured by camera. They are thought provoking and fascinating. The captions at the back of those vintage snapshots gave more depth to the book. It gave the photos life and more emotion.

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Surely, this is one book I’ll surely browse from time to time. Hopefully, this won’t be the last collection of photos from Ransom Riggs that will be produced. The book proved the power of printed pictures in today’s modern world.

4 stars out of 5.

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