Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Graveyard Book

Book:  The Graveyard Book
Author:  Neil Gaiman
Like/Don't Like:  I wanted to reread it as soon as I finished

I would like to state for the record that it is a great comfort to me that Neil Gaiman exists.  More to the point, that he exists and writes.  Everything I've read of his has been an absolute delight.  I could stop right here by saying he wrote Good Omens and be done with it.  Because my love of that book is fairly well documented.  But that wouldn't be very fair to The Graveyard Book - which is masterful.

No, I mean it.  Masterful.  It felt like a master class in writing.  It is a solidly crafted book.  He has such a handle on giving you characters and stories that feel like they've been around forever - that feel like they've already been formed and written and he just plucked them out for you and gives them shape and form.  Which is saying something because this story is composed mostly of ghosts and ghouls and other things that aren't alive.

It opens with a baby, later named Nobody Owens, who barely escapes being murdered by toddling into a graveyard and gaining the protection of the ghosts who live there.  He is taken in by a ghostly couple and given a guardian, Silas, who is neither dead nor alive and who teaches him the ways of the world as best he can despite all the dead people wandering around.  The story goes along in several vignettes over the first 14 or so years of Bod's life that all wind together in the end that is both a little sad but also very hopeful and exciting.  Which is such a satisfying way to end a book.


Stephanie said...

I loved this book, too, and I recommend it to any 10-12 year old boy who is looking for a good book to read (little boys totally go for the dead stuff). I am a huge Gaiman fan as well and I just hope he keeps writing gold.

Rach said...

I read this a while back, and I think I need to read it again. I enjoyed it the first time. It was a fascinating and extremely creative book.

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