Friday, November 2, 2012
Review: "The Graveyard Book"
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
4 out of 5 stars
I can still review spooky, Halloweeny books thru the end of the week right? I'm going with it, so yeah. :) I read this for the first time in 2010 so this was a nice revisit. Technically considered a middle grade book, it's still definitely creepy enough for the older kids (and weenie adults such as yours truly). I mean come on, the first sentence is: There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife. Doesn't that give you shivers down your spine? Gaiman is so great at descriptions and building a scene for the reader. And you can watch him read the entire book out loud at MouseCircus. Also, bonus scary story at Audible! (Not sure how long either will be up, so take advantage!)
What is this book about? Well, it's obviously about a graveyard. And it's also about Nobody. There is a man called Jack and a baby in a house and "circumstances" that cause said baby to go live in the graveyard. This baby grows into a young boy named Nobody Owens by the keepers of the graveyard. Bod was a quiet child with sober grey eyes and a mop of tousled, mouse-colored hair. Bod enjoys his life in the graveyard, for the most part, but sometimes he gets lonely and restless. He has friends of course: all the children of the graveyard, but they can be a little dull at times, seeing as some of them died several hundred years before. He meets a "living" little girl named Scarlett and becomes her "imaginary friend" for a while. He has a mum and a dad (although ghostly, they still love him as much as his first parents) and a caretaker named Silas (who I did not realize was supposed to be a vampire until reading some Goodreads reviews doh.) and a werewolf named Miss Lupescu for a teacher.
This book explores life in the graveyard and all the dangers that can befall a young, adventurous boy. And there are plenty...hiding from Jack, finding an ancient tomb guarded by spirits, getting kidnapped by some ghouls, helping a young (when she was alive) witch get a bit of closure, teaching some bullies a lesson, and more. But essentially, this is a story about a boy growing into a man. He must learn what "family" means and the differences between the living and the dead and also the non-differences. Bod also learns compassion, loyalty, the joys of learning new things, and when it is time to move on to bigger and brighter things. The ending makes me tear up a little, it's so bittersweet. I highly recommend this book, especially around Halloween!