“It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Middle-Grade | Magical Realism | Supernatural | Fantasy
Published by HarperCollins
Released September 30, 2008
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Facebook
An infant accidentally escapes the murder of his entire family and finds shelter in a nearby graveyard. The ghosts in the graveyard adopt the child and name him Nobody Owens, or Bod for short.
Bod is raised by the ghosts, along with his guardian, Silas, who’s not quite dead and not quite living. Bod is given the freedom of the graveyard and learns many tricks, including how to fade into the background and visit dreams.
Bod is kept from leaving the graveyard because dangers lurk outside of the gates. Namely, Jack, the man who murdered Bod’s original family, is still out to get him.
Growing up in a graveyard certainly isn’t boring though. Bod has a ton of adventures with both the living and dead. Ultimately, he must confront the man who is responsible for his family’s demise.
I’ve mentioned several times on this blog that Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors and that The Graveyard Book is one of my favorite books of all time. I have no idea how many times I’ve read this book, but it’s a pretty high number. I’ve also listened to the audiobook, narrated by Neil Gaiman, a couple of times.
There are so many reasons I adore this novel as much as I do. First, it’s a fun adventure story that deals with complicated subjects, such as murder. One of the best things about The Graveyard Book is that Gaiman writes in a concise, casual way, which is striking against the backdrop of violence. The best place to see this is in the opening chapter when Jack is murdering the family.
Bod is a very well-written character who learns to live despite being surrounded by the dead. He wants to see the world and meet people. Growing up in a graveyard only makes him want to live more, and I love that about Bod. He’s also an immensely likable character.
So many of the side characters in the book are just as enjoyable as Bod; we’ve got Silas, Bod’s mysterious guardian; Liza, who was drowned for witchcraft; Miss Lupescu, Bod’s teacher that has more to her than meets the eye; and a trio of nasty ghouls: the Duke of Westminster, the Honorable Archibald Fitzhugh, and the Bishop of Bath and Wells.
Another reason I enjoy this book so much is that I’ve always been the sort of person who hangs around in graveyards. In fact, when I lived in Asheville, NC, much of my free time was spent at Riverside Cemetary, where I would go to get away from people, read, meditate, have picnics. Graveyards are very peaceful places, and I loved reading a book set in one that wasn’t your standard horror story.
This book will make you smile and you will like Bod so much that you really want him to succeed in life. It’s well-written and just lovely. This book would be a great place to start if you’re new to Neil Gaiman.
This story is perfect. I have zero complaints, and I know I’m going to continue to reread this book frequently.