The Graveyard Book
London, Bloomsbury, 2008, 289p
So it had to be done. I had to write a entry about The Graveyard Book.
Full disclosure: I am a little bit in love with Neil Gaiman. Not only does he write great fiction, but he's a lover of libraries! Double win.
The Graveyard Book is about the life of Nobody Owens (aka Bod, a name that a friend of mine is hoping to use for her children, somehow), who is adopted by ghosts and raised in a graveyard. He learns about life through his interactions with the dead - they teach him history and maths, as well as survival lessons and the difference between right and wrong.
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. As I have already confessed, I do love Gothic fiction; but when I was a teen, I never read stuff like this. I'm more into Gothic fiction set in the past - the Victorian era, the Enlightenment - with the context of change and upheaval.
Yet, Gaiman pulls it off. I was terrified of The Man Jack, and I had nightmares about the Ghouls.
I loved all the little details, like the Freedom of the Graveyard. I also enjoyed the little morality lessons that were in there, like when Bod comes up against some bullies at school.
But most of all, I felt that Gaiman's characters were incredible. I enjoy the comic relief provided by the inhabitants of the graveyard, and the companionship that comes from Scarlett and Elizabeth. He hit the nail on the head with Bod, creating a normal growing boy, but within the most unusual of settings. It's said of Bod that, "He looks like nobody but himself", but I'd argue he is like everybody - he is so easy to relate to. My favourite, of course, was Silas. Who doesn't want someone like Silas to watch over them. He reminded me of Sirius Black - reserved, cautious, but full of love.
So, if I haven't already made it clear - I recommend The Graveyard Book.