Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Dave McKean
Genre: Children’s, Fantasy, Fiction
Awards: Newbery Medal, Hugo Award for Best Novel, etc.
Date Published: September 28th of 2010 (first published on the 30th of September, year 2008)
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
IT TAKES A GRAVEYARD TO RAISE A CHILD.
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, a gateway to abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible fleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will be in danger from the man Jack – who has already killed Bod’s family . . .
Rate: 5 of 5
Get a copy: Book Depository (Hardcover, Paperback, CD-Audio) National Bookstore (Paperback), Kobo (eBook), Audible (Audio book)
As you may well know (I’m totally assuming on this but whatever), I reserve my five-of-five ratings for those types of books that really blew my mind. It may not be a certain simple work of literature or a complex one or a swoon-worthy one, but rest-assured I’ll be giving five-of-five for those books that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. These are the types of books that I had the delight of reading with all my heart and that maybe something that people should take a chance on. I mean, if we have the same tastes. Suffice to say, I rated this book a whooping five-of-five so you may have a hint now of how nice of a book this is.
This is the first Gaiman book that I actually completed. I tried to read Coraline and Neverwhere before but I didn’t finish them. The first work of Gaiman that I have picked up was Neverwhere, I think I got as far as a third of the book. That was the era when I was just not into fantasy, I wasn’t really into very complex characters and plot lines that time I guess–I was perhaps fifteen, sixteen (?) and was loving chick lit back then haha. I borrowed it from my cousin and she said that it is very good. So now, I’m a little guilty for not reading it to the end. Haha. The second Gaiman book I tried reading just in the latter parts of 2016 was Coraline. It was actually in my Goodreads TBR list but I ended up removing it because uhm I really don’t know. I’m not really sure why because I’m particulary fond of Children’s books but ugh IRDK. I had mini reading slumps sprinkled all throughout 2016 so maybe the book just took the runt of that slump.
I think the reason why I really liked this book was that there is a different allure to the notion of this book: a child–very much alive–growing up with ghosts and the like. There’s a certain appeal and contrast to the notion that is the living trying to breach the divide that is death. (Does that make sense? haha) There’s a nice contrast to it because a child living with people that are dead. (I just made the ghosts sound like zombies lol) It’s extraordinary how this is often flagged as a children’s book but opens with a rather bloody murder scene and then later on morphs into the setting of the graveyard. I loved the air of mystery.
Okay, characters. Let’s start with Nobody Owens. I’m gonna put it out there: WHO NAMES THEIR KID NOBODY?! Like nobody does that. (Wink, wink. I know excellent pun right. Right?! Say yes.) It is a witty name and really kick-ass name but wow parents please don’t name your child that please. LOL, kidding. I loved his character because he is just so innocent and cute, which is really not something that you would expect from a boy that was raised up from a grim place such as the graveyard. Again, the contrast of his character to the setting is quite extraordinary. Second, Silas. What is up with him? Mr. and Mrs. Owens, there wasn’t really much time for me to love their characters because they weren’t really there. Ms. Lupescu, on the other hand, is a character that I actually liked. She’s so stern and strict–I love it. And also, is it just me or do you guys ship Ms. Lupescu and Silas?! No? Just me? Okay. Lastly, Scarlett Perkins, her character kinda irked me a bit. There were qualities in her that I didn’t particulary liked but maybe the thing I wasn’t really keen into is that she’s too trusting. There were many characters mentioned in the book that I won’t be including, e.g. The Sleer, Indigo Man, Jack, Mrs. Perkins, Liza Hempstock, etc. because I won’t be able to bring justice to the rest of the characters. But what I’m going to say is that the author did an excellent job on outlining the characteristics of each person in the story, simple and straight-forward but endearing all the more.
I’m trying to rationalize the elements of the book such as the ghosts, ghouls, etc. and I’m telling you I’m having a hard time. I can’t flag it as Bod’s hallucinations or it’s just Bod is really crazy or something on that line. There’s just so many elements to be rationalized. For example, how the hell can a child climb a crib or let alone stroll around outside in the cold air and even managed to climb a hill all on his own?! I mean…how the hell can people not see him?! I mean it’s night…but still. Haha. BUT, I’ve come to the conclusion that that is just the nature of this book. It’s just the universe in which the characters walk in, and that I should really just leave it at that. 😛 I’m having a hard time to process it because the story of this one is really in touch with the real world (not like all the High Fantasy I’m currently reading–okay, okay all the Maas books I’m reading haha). So that’s the reason why I’m feeling the need to rationalize this one but ehhhh I should just let it go.
The part of the book that is my favorite are the last two pages. I really bawled my eyes out right there. I even read it over and over, perhaps eight times. This was the part that got me into heaving sobs. I’m in that part in my life where I’m trying to be more independent and to start my own life away from my comfort zone and it just struck a nerve. I found a little part of me in Bod in the latter part. Reading this book just felt like perfect timing. As I have said before, some books just come to your life in the right time as long as you want to take a chance on it. (I totally made reading books some kind of a love life problem hahahaha.)
I thought this book has a movie out already but apparently not. After a quick Google search, I found out that it was picked up by Disney but then let go after four months and then was forwarded to another person to make and currently is still in the works. So, I’m looking forward to that!
This book was just so simple and classy yet has a certain dimension to it that comes alive through Gaiman’s writing. There’s just a classic tone to it that you can’t help but be lulled in the story. And not to mention, McKean’s beautiful, beautiful illustrations. It’s such an easy read yet something that is also so inspiring. I’m going to go ahead and say that this is amongst my favorite books to date.
Do I recommend it? Hell yaz.
*Cover image and Synopsis via Goodreads