06 January 2012

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.
He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a soliltary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for the boy--an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack--who has already killed Bod's family...

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel fro the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic "Coraline". Magical, terrifying, and filled with breath-taking adventures, "The Graveyard Book" is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

The ending annoyed me to no end, but overall, I have to say that I really enjoyed it.  Usually, I think there’s an air of animosity towards a book that you are forced to read, but I found The Graveyard Book engaging, funny, heart-wrenching, and fraught with a misspent childhood and frightening imagination.  This is my first Neil Gaiman novel.  I will probably not pick up another book of his.  I do not go for the nightmare-in-a-bottle kind of book.

Nobody Owens—or Bod, as he is affectionately called by the Graveyard inhabitants—was a great character.  Like Harry Potter, he grows up far from the norm and doesn’t know much about the Other World, the one that lies outside the graveyard gates.  He was honest, passionate and curious and totally awesome.  I loved watching him grow through the book, but I wish the whole story had been him as a teenager.  While I can imagine an eight-year-old clambering around under hills and through graves, my preference is for the teen story.  So I loved how the book ended with him being a bit older.

This was a very character-appreciative book for me.  The story didn’t make a lot of sense, and I couldn’t see much of a plot.  This whole “prophecy”-like situation surrounding him wasn’t told very well.  I think if Gaiman had focused entirely on the characters and left out any kind of plot-driven devices, the book would have been much more enjoyable.  I realize it received the highest award for Children’s literature, but personally, I think it was written by an average writer and was a relatively average story.

Overall, Bod really made the book for me.  That kid was awesome, and I loved his character to death (no pun intended).  Y’all should pick it up just to say you did.  You might realize just how much you love it.

Book Info:
  • pages - hardcover, 312
  • published - October 2008
  • publisher - Bloomsbury
  • genre - fantasy
  • received via - school library
  • rating - 4/5