Book Review

The Graveyard Book – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆   (4 / 5 stars)
Audio Book Performance: ★★★★☆  (4 / 5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★★☆  (4 / 5 stars)

On a seemingly normal night, in a seemingly normal town, a murder takes place in a seemingly normal house. The man Jack slaughters a husband, a wife, a daughter and goes to murder their toddler…only for the toddler to have disappeared. Where did the toddler run off to? Little does the man Jack expect for the toddler to have left for the graveyard on the hill. The dead take the boy in under their wing, naming him simply “Nobody” or “Bod”, and giving him the freedom of the graveyard. But even with the graveyard’s protections, is Bod safe from the man Jack? Or are there bigger terrors afoot in the graveyard?

In a coming of age tale with a spooky but sad twist, we live Bod’s childhood in the graveyard with him through chapters designed in the form of standalone stories. Each whimsical story takes on a life of its own, introducing us to the Ghouls, the Sleers, the Witches, and all the other elements of Bod’s childhood. Every story plays into when Bod ultimately has to face the man Jack again, with hints of Jack’s ultimate fate peppered throughout each tale.

Gaiman is always a talented author. His writing is poet-almost, and he writes stories that we all know about coming of age, facing our demons, and learning lessons…but with twists added into them. This graveyard doesn’t just welcome Bod into its loving arms, but the readers as well.

It’s amazing that it took me this long to read The Graveyard Book. I started it long ago, in high school, and never finished it, so I picked up a full-audio cast performance of Neil Gaiman’s famous book. Still, this took me much longer to finish than I’d like to admit. I don’t know why; the story is delightful, after all. Perhaps it was the performance itself, or a momentary lapse in my attention span in regards to audio books, or the ability to break up every story into separate pieces. Any of those factors might have caused me to drag my feet a little bit more with the story.

While every story was a delight, each focusing on a different point of Bod’s childhood, and showing his growth over time, they did make the narrative somewhat disjointed. Was it enough to hinder my enjoyment? Absolutely not. But I know I wanted to see more about Bod and his friends, and I wanted to spend time exploring the graveyard. Like childhood though, it was over too soon. Will children think that though? Probably not. Children will cling to every story and every word, and they are the target audience.

Gaiman, even in his most fantastical stories, always leaves some sort of message to both the young and the old. The Graveyard Book is no exception. In a story about childhood, and about growing up, and about outgrowing what we once loved, The Graveyard Book teaches us that you need live. Do not hold back, otherwise, you will find yourself riding off with the lady in gray before long.

What’s it about?

IT TAKES A GRAVEYARD TO RAISE A CHILD.

Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.

The Graveyard Book, a modern classic, is the only work ever to win both the Newbery (US) and Carnegie (UK) medals.

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