Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This book is well-known by now, but I'll give you a brief plot summary anyway. Bod (short for Nobody) Owens was raised by ghosts in a graveyard, although he is a living child. His family was murdered when he was barely old enough to toddle out of harms way, but because he was a curious child, he managed to escape the murderer by finding friends among the ghosts. The graveyard he lives in is unused, and is something of a historical site and nature preserve, although no one really goes there. So Bod is left to grow up with the ghosts, and with his guardian, Silas, who is not a ghost, and so can leave the graveyard to find food for Bod. But the man who killed his family, Jack, is still out there, and one day Bod will have to face him, or he may never be able to leave the graveyard.
I really loved this book. It surprised me in a lot of ways. But Neil Gaiman is nothing if not a surprising and adept story-teller. The book was creepy, but I didn't find it quite as creepy as Coraline. The reader begins to accept that the graveyard is a normal place for Bod, so while it could have been made creepy, instead it just seems sort of normal. Although there are still frightening characters, such as the ghouls and the Sleer. Bod was a different sort of character than I expected as well, and the choices that he makes when interacting with people of the world outside the graveyard were surprising, and showed a character with a lot of depth. This would be a great book to read aloud to grade school children, and would be enjoyed by older kids of all ages as well. And I can't help imagining what sort of movie it will make.


Penny (aka Yooperchick) said...

I read Coraline after this one, and Coraline is definately much creepier! I loved this one as well. I posted a link to your review with mine, here:

Jessica said...

Thanks for the link!