The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

December 15, 2009
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“There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.” So begins “The Graveyard Book” an excitingly chilling novel by writer Neil Gaiman.

What do you think life would be like if you were orphaned and adopted by dead people? That is what happens to a toddler named Nobody Owens (or ‘Bod’) when his parents are murdered in the night and he crawls into the nearby graveyard. Throughout the book you follow Nobody’s life as he grows up in the graveyard with his adoptive ghost family and shadowy caretaker, Silas. As the various stories unfold you learn more and more about his world and the mysteries it contains.

This book manages to be creepy without being too much so for those who hate horror. Some things leave you wondering; wanting to know what is around that last corner or is out in the dark looking at you. The loose ends are captivating while the explanations are equally satisfying. Neil Gaiman, also the writer of “Coraline” and “Stardust”, knows just how to weave a story you don’t want to put down. Gaiman manages to give the book a voice that is just right for its message.

“The Graveyard Book” is a fantasy-style book in the sense that, well, there are ghosts and various other unrealistic oddities. ‘Bod’ seeks out mysteries as any other child would by looking into the danger everywhere he goes with determined intent. As the hero he symbolizes the cycle of childhood that everyone goes through; starting as an unaware, unquestioning boy and ending as a young man on the edge of a great new world outside his familiar walls. The symbolism I found in this book made it even better for me than other books of its type. There are clear connections between the life of a real young boy, and Nobody’s. Maturing is not an easy task and the various tales make it clear. From encounters with girls, to fear of the dark, this book really covers everything.

Nobody is a plain boy with dark hair who has some of the ghost’s supernatural abilities. Always questioning everything he really manages to get into quite a few tight spots that seem like the end! The people who take care of Nobody are mostly a ghost couple the Owens’ and Silas a mysterious man who guards Nobody in his crypt home. Nobody makes friends in the graveyard like the ghost of a young woman who was thought to be a witch. Another encounter takes place with an ancient creature deep beneath the graveyard.

It really is hard to get into any of the books delving plot without spoiling any of its secrets. If you are a fan of Neil Gaiman, or of not too scary ghost stories, then this is the book for you. Though it is a fairly quick read, there is a lot packed between the covers leaving every moment interesting and fulfilling. Now if you want to explore Nobody’s extensive and shadowy world, you’ll just have to read “The Graveyard Book”!

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