The Graveyard Book (Review)

October 24, 2014

Book cover for "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman.Title: The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman

Publication Year: 2008

Pages: 336 (audio length: 7 hours 47 minutes)

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com

From the cover:

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.

This was the second of Gaiman’s books that I read (after American Gods and before Coraline), and it basically convinced me that I had to continue working through his backlist.

First of all, who can beat the premise of the story? A kid growing up in a graveyard? That’s just plain awesome. And the way that Gaiman tells it, Bod seems to be having just as good – if not better – of an upbringing as any other child. Plus he’s got the whole place looking out for his safety and well-being. What better way to explore the “it takes a village to raise a child” proverb than to have a graveyard full of guardians in charge?

The graveyard in the story is also part of the appeal. Based loosely on Highgate Cemetery in London, Gaiman does a really great job of making the “graveyard” come to life. The beauty of the monuments and the landscaping really shines through the pages. The supernatural occurrences and the fight for Bod really fit into the setting, adding to its appeal in a symbiotic way rather than just ignoring the graveyard as purely background.

If you’re looking to start out reading Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book would definitely be one of my top picks for where to start.

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