Monday, September 28, 2009

Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
# pages: 307
Date published: 2008
Genre: Children's fiction


 Highly Recommended

First sentence: 
There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.
What is it all about? A little boy's parents are brutally murdered in the night. The infant wanders into the graveyard next door and is protected, raised, and educated by its ghostly residents. Here, the boy, now named Nobody (Bod, for short) Owens, explores, has adventures, and meets ghouls, an ancient Indigo Man, and the Sleer. But venturing outside the graveyard is even more dangerous. Not only does Bod have to deal with schoolyard bullies, but he runs the risk of being found by the man named Jack.

Random thoughts: What a throughly delightful book. It is, in turn, spooky, exciting, witty, and tender-hearted. It is absolutely perfect Halloween reading for adult and tweens alike (I'm not sure I'd recommend it for younger children - it can get kind of scary in parts, but tweens and older as well as mature younger kids should be able to handle it just fine).

Favorite scene: I've been inside the caves on Wawel Hill in Krakow, so I enjoyed reading about Silas, Miss Lupescu, and Kandar's trip inside them.

Favorite quote:
Bod speaks to Silas, his guardian, about people who have committed suicide:
"They kill themselves, you mean?" said Bod. He was about eight years old, wide-eyed and inquisitive, and he was not stupid.


"Does it work? Are they happier dead?"

"Sometimes. Mostly, no. 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." (p. 104)

Fun tidbits:

About the Author: Novelist Neil Gaiman has sent a British businessman tumbling into a fantastic underworld and had a devil and angel comically conspiring to thwart the Apocalypse. He found his biggest success, though, in Death, Dreams and Destruction -- and the four other similarly named siblings who controlled the reins of the human race's emotional impulses in his graphic-novel series The Sandman, a wholesale rejuvenation of graphic fiction that had everyone from Tori Amos to Norman Mailer spinning with, yes, Delirium.

Recommended for: Everyone
I picked this book to help me complete the following reading challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Pages Read Challenge, RIP IV Challenge, Book Awards III Challenge, 999 Challenge, Well-Rounded Challenge, Raved-About Reads Challenge, and the Read Your Own Books Challenge.


The Hardest Walk said...

I've always found Neil Gaiman's writing a bit disappointing compared to the ideas contained in it - it's like he's very good at the ideas and less good at linking them in writing, so a graphic novel like The Sandman seems a perfect medium for him. However, I think his writing style works a lot better for these more child-focussed books so I really enjoyed both the ideas and writing in this one.

Beth F said...

I have this one in my TBR. I really must read it soon! Good for Halloween.