The Graveyard Book (paperback)
by Neil Gaiman
AR Level 5.1, 10 points
Newbery Award Winner 2009
I may have a new favorite author. I first read Coraline to my class last month, and I loved that it was creepy and I could picture it as a Tim Burton movie (although the movie was sadly disappointing). I love that Gaiman’s books are macabre, but not too gory that they couldn’t be considered children’s literature. I would categorize this book with the Miss Peregrine books or Doll Bones. They have their moments where you could be frightened or creeped out, but at the same time, you don’t want to put them down.
The Graveyard Book is about a boy named Nobody (Bod for short) whose family is murdered by a man Jack, but he escapes. He crawls into a graveyard, and is raised by a community of ghosts from different centuries somewhere in a small town in England. The Owenses adopt and raise him, and Silas (who is not part of the living nor the dead world) becomes his caretaker, providing food, clothing, and guidance. Bod has little contact with the living, and doesn’t really understand his place in the world.
What I liked about this book is the strong underlying theme of living life while you can. Bod befriends and is raised by the non-living in this graveyard, and they advise him to LIVE his life, while he is happy where he is. I also appreciate Gaiman’s ability to write about the macabre tastefully while appealing to both children and adults. I look forward to reading more of his work.
What I didn’t like about this book was that I got confused in certain parts. There was a lot to take in. The difference between the sleer and ghoul gate and Indigo Man mixed me up a bit, because I just didn’t understand where he was going with them (although it made sense in the end). Gaiman creates this other-worldly experience that is a lot to take in! I was also really frustrated with not understanding why a baby’s family would be slaughtered without answers.
I really enjoyed this book, and I welcome recommendations on where to go from here.
Book 27 of 40 (year 2)