Reading Recap: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

british cover

So I decided I might throw up one of these on occasion. Let the world know what I think of my reading explorations.

First let’s give props where props are deserved. Published in 2008, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman won numerous accolades including the British Carnegie Medal and the American Newbery Medal in children’s literature along with the Hugo Award and the Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book. The illustrations in the British children’s edition by Chris Riddell were shortlisted for the Kate Greenway Medal.

The artwork for the US edition by Dave McKean are stellar, but I have to say I prefer the British illustration by Chris Riddell seen in the cover to the right.

The Graveyard Book is a fantastical tale about a young boy who as a toddler ambles up to a graveyard after his family is brutally murdered, the killer close on his heels. The resident community of ghosts are stuck with a problem. Do they let the man Jack stalking the child finish his task or do they take in the child? Without much more than a moment to spare, they decide to raise him.

Two ghosts, Mr. and Mrs. Owens gather the toddler into their arms becoming his adoptive parents while the rest of the community helps in other ways to raise and protect the child who decides to be called Nobody Owens. He takes on the nickname Bod Owens in his adventures always at the cusp of the living, but feeling more at home with the dead. Another man named Silas, who is neither dead nor alive, agrees to be the child’s guardian willing to get him food and teach him in ways of the world. While he is away on business, Miss Lupescu takes over Silas’ duties as protector, teacher, and food supplier since Bod cannot leave the graveyard for fear of the murder who is still out to find him.

Each chapter presents a new challenge to Bod as he grows into a young man. We see glimpses of him when he is four, six, eight, ten, fourteen, and finally fifteen. These experiences are pivotal in his survival at the end of the book, learning, changing, and growing along the way. Even with such large gaps in time the story comes back around at the end with his childhood friend returning along with being discovered by the person who murdered his parents. Bod needs to remember all of his lessons in order to defeat this final threat. Even with the help of the community of ghosts who have taken him in as family this is no easy endeavour.

The Graveyard Book carries you away into a magical world of ghouls, night-gaunts, werewolves, vampires, and ghosts set in modern-day England. Gaiman enlightens us with a fresh perspective on these ancient magical themes with The Lady on the Grey, the Hounds of God, the Honor Guard, The Sleer, and The Jack of All Trades. A riveting adventure reminiscent of The Jungle Book with a dark Neil Gaiman artistic flair. It will delight the imaginations of both adults and children alike.

Check it out on Amazon: The Graveyard Book

2 thoughts on “Reading Recap: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

  1. More middle grade. Ages 8-12. But nonetheless, it’s a great read and I would think he would like it.

Any thoughts?