Monday, January 10, 2011

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Book Jacket

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 solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.  There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy--an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, 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.


A story about a boy raised by ghosts could very easily become campy, but Gaiman tells the story of Nobody Owens (brilliant name) with a very gothic and fairy tale feel.  Bod's adventures growing up are both mystical and very natural, as Gaiman captures the personality of a typical boy growing up.  I loved every bit, from the deliciously terrifying organization that is out to kill Bod (the Jacks of All Trades) to his friendship with a girl who thinks he is her imaginary friend.  I especially loved Miss Lupescu and Silas, Bod's guardians, who are a werewolf and a vampire respectively, but unlike any werewolf or vampire you've read before.

Gaiman's talent lies in making the mundane terrifying and the terrifying mundane.  In the graveyard with Bod, the ghosts are friendly and protective.  Outside in the real world is where the danger lies.

Brilliant book.  This was my second readthrough, and I loved it even more this time.

Five out of five epitaphs.

Release Date:  September 2008
Reading Level:  Grade 5+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  J GAI

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