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The Graveyard Book (NUMBERED LIMITED EDITION~ SIGNED X 2)

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Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place-he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their timely ghostly teachings-like the ability to Fade. Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place-he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their timely ghostly teachings-like the ability to Fade. Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead? And then there are things like ghouls that aren't really one thing or the other. This chilling tale is Neil Gaiman's first full-length novel for middle-grade readers since the internationally bestselling and universally acclaimed Coraline. Like Coraline, this book is sure to enchant and surprise young readers as well as Neil Gaiman's legion of adult fans.


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Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place-he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their timely ghostly teachings-like the ability to Fade. Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place-he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their timely ghostly teachings-like the ability to Fade. Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead? And then there are things like ghouls that aren't really one thing or the other. This chilling tale is Neil Gaiman's first full-length novel for middle-grade readers since the internationally bestselling and universally acclaimed Coraline. Like Coraline, this book is sure to enchant and surprise young readers as well as Neil Gaiman's legion of adult fans.

30 review for The Graveyard Book (NUMBERED LIMITED EDITION~ SIGNED X 2)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Recently, on a car trip with my little boy, I decided to try listening to an audiobook. In the past this hasn't been a success. He loves to be read to in person, both picture books and chapter books. But he not a fan of listening to books in the car. At best he's indifferent, but usually he just asks me to turn them off. Generally speaking, he'd prefer to listen to Macklemore's Thrift Shop, which he calls "The Sway Music." But he's four now, with a vocabulary that's diverse to the point of being Recently, on a car trip with my little boy, I decided to try listening to an audiobook. In the past this hasn't been a success. He loves to be read to in person, both picture books and chapter books. But he not a fan of listening to books in the car. At best he's indifferent, but usually he just asks me to turn them off. Generally speaking, he'd prefer to listen to Macklemore's Thrift Shop, which he calls "The Sway Music." But he's four now, with a vocabulary that's diverse to the point of being a little creepy. (I taught him "cruft" yesterday.) So I plugged in the Audio of Gaiman's Graveyard book. For those of you who don't know, Gaiman reads his own audiobooks more often than not. Lovely accent aside, he's fucking amazing at it. Really irritatingly good. We listened to it for about 10 minutes or so, then I heard him saying, "Dad? Dad!" from the back seat. I sighed and turned it off, I expected him to tell me that this was boring and we should stop. Or that he wanted to listen to the Sway Music or one of his, as he puts it "Kid CD's." But it wasn't anything of the sort, instead he said. "Dad! I'm listening to the story and I can see the pictures in my head!" "Really?" I asked. "Yeah," he says. "It's like a movie!" I couldn't be happier. Neil Gaiman as his first audio. My boy has good taste. "What does it look like in your head?" I ask. "There's a hill, and on the top of it there is a fence and a graveyard!" We talk about the story for a little bit. He's slightly confused on some points: he thinks the boy's name is Jack, and he thought that the man who was coming to hurt the boy was invisible except for his hand. (Which is understandable, given the way Gaiman describes things, focusing on the hand and the knife.) But generally he was getting it. More importantly, he was enjoying it. I know this because for the next couple days, whenever we got into the car, he asked if we could listen to "the story of the boy that lived in the graveyard." Yes, yes we can.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jayson

    (A-) 83% | Very Good Notes: A bit too short, and the illustrations don’t really work. Still, it’s a fun, light and whimsical take on its macabre milieu.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mark Lawrence

    I read this to Celyn but the 5* are from both of us. I think I probably enjoyed it more than she did in fact. It's a fine book. I can see why it's done so well. The story is well structured, the brutal opening providing an orphan, a mystery, and an ongoing threat. Thereafter the book slowly cycles back around to its beginning and in the mean time raises our young Bod, equipping him with the skills to deal with his problem. Bod's life in the graveyard is very interesting, with him learning various I read this to Celyn but the 5* are from both of us. I think I probably enjoyed it more than she did in fact. It's a fine book. I can see why it's done so well. The story is well structured, the brutal opening providing an orphan, a mystery, and an ongoing threat. Thereafter the book slowly cycles back around to its beginning and in the mean time raises our young Bod, equipping him with the skills to deal with his problem. Bod's life in the graveyard is very interesting, with him learning various bits of magic and magical lore from the dead. With hundreds of ghosts spanning several thousand years there's all manner of opportunity for interest and I enjoyed Bod's interactions with them. We watch Bod grow up, be educated, and make ventures into the living world. The whole thing crept up on me. I was gently entertained throughout but by the end I found myself really caring about the story. The end was really quite emotional in that Toy Story III sort of 'leaving the nest' way that punches parents in the gut. I think Celyn got a bit irritated as I kept pausing to gather myself to read the next line. Anyway. A curious and highly entertaining book thick with inventiveness and written with deceptive skill. Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes .....

  4. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    It takes a graveyard to raise a child Nobody Owens (yes, that's his name) becomes orphaned at an early age when an unknown "Jack" murders his entire family. What's surprising is that Nobody doesn't even notice - the kid is too excited that the house door is open and toddles off for adventure. He ends up at the local graveyard. The local ghosts see Jack's intentions and decide to grant Nobody the Protection of the Graveyard. A childless ghost couple adopts the toddler and a vampire becomes his It takes a graveyard to raise a child Nobody Owens (yes, that's his name) becomes orphaned at an early age when an unknown "Jack" murders his entire family. What's surprising is that Nobody doesn't even notice - the kid is too excited that the house door is open and toddles off for adventure. He ends up at the local graveyard. The local ghosts see Jack's intentions and decide to grant Nobody the Protection of the Graveyard. A childless ghost couple adopts the toddler and a vampire becomes his guardian. Together, the graveyard and its inhabitants, seek to raise the living boy - through love, moral guidance and, of course, the finest education the dead could offer. "Name the different kinds of people," said Miss Lupescu. "Now." Bod thought for a moment. "The living," he said. "Er. The dead." He stopped. Then, "... Cats?" This book spans Nobody's entire childhood with each chapter as a vignette, covering the biggest adventure that happened that year. One year he's meeting new human friends, the next going on adventures with a hanged witch or running from very, very hungry ghouls. Since there is only a snippet of each year's adventure, I became frustrated when the adventure was over but not wrapped-up. (i.e. the Macabray: the dance of the living and the dead, was not ever touched on again but it was by-far one of the most curious happenings in that little graveyard) Some of the more interesting graveyard happenings (i.e. Silas (the vampire) and Miss Lupesco's adventures) were only spoken of in the vaguest of terms. Nobody Owens is a child for most of the book and this is told from his perspective...so it makes sense that he would not know about the full adventure. Yet as the reader, I still wanted to know what happened! Overall, this is definitely one my favorite Gaiman novels! Definitely check it out. Audiobook Comments --Narrated by the author: CHECK! Neil Gaiman has an absolutely wonderful reading voice --This audiobook has a some musical accompaniment (Notably during the Macabray dance) which made listening to it extremely memorable! YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads Happy Reading!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    I’ve noticed that there’s been an increased interest in the macabre in children’s literature lately. Sometimes when I’ve had a glass or two of wine and I’m in a contemplative mood I try weaving together a postulation that ties the current love of violent movies into this rise in children’s literary darkness. Is the violence of the world today trickling down into our entertainment? Hogwash and poppycock and other words of scoff and denial, says sober I. But I’ve certainly seen a distinct rise in I’ve noticed that there’s been an increased interest in the macabre in children’s literature lately. Sometimes when I’ve had a glass or two of wine and I’m in a contemplative mood I try weaving together a postulation that ties the current love of violent movies into this rise in children’s literary darkness. Is the violence of the world today trickling down into our entertainment? Hogwash and poppycock and other words of scoff and denial, says sober I. But I’ve certainly seen a distinct rise in the Gothic and otherworldly over the last few years, and one wonders if it’s because kids want more of that kind of stuff or publishers are merely getting less squeamish. All that aside, generally I’ll read a May Bird book or an Everlost title and they’ll be fun examinations of the hereafter, but not the kind of things that touch my heart. Great writing doesn’t have to transcend its genre. It just has to be emotionally honest with the reader. And The Graveyard Book is one of the most emotionally honest books I’ve yet to have read this year. Smart and focused, touching and wry, it takes the story of a boy raised by ghosts and extends it beyond the restrictive borders of the setting. Great stuff. It starts with three murders. There were supposed to be four. The man Jack was one of the best, maybe THE best, and how hard is it to kill a toddler anyway? But on that particular night the little boy went for a midnight toddle out the front door while the murderer was busy and straight into the nearby graveyard. Saved and protected by the denizens of that particular abode (the ghosts and the far more corporeal if mysterious Silas), the little boy is called Bod, short for Nobody because no one knows his name. As he grows older, Bod learns the secrets of the graveyard, though he has to be careful. The man (or is it “men”?) who killed his family could come back for him. Best to stay quiet and out of sight. Yet as Bod grows older it becomes clear that hiding may not be the best way to confront his enemies. And what’s more, Bod must come to grips with what it means to grow up. Can I level with you? You know Coraline? Mr. Gaiman’s previous foray into middle grade children’s literature. Come close now, I don’t want to speak too loudly. Uh... I didn’t much care for it. WAIT! Come back, come back, I didn’t mean it! Well, maybe I did a tad. It was a nice book. A sufficient story. But it was very much (new category alert) an adult-author-to-children’s-author-first-timer-title. Gaiman appeared to be finding his sealegs with Coraline. He took the old Alice in Wonderland trope which adult authors naturally gravitate to on their first tries (see: Un Lun Dun, Summerland, The King in the Window, etc.). Throw in some rats, bees, and buttons, and voila! Instant success. But Coraline for all its readability and charm didn’t get me here [thumps chest:]. I didn’t feel emotionally close to the material. Now why it should be that I’d feel closer emotionally to a book filled with a plethora of ghosts, ghouls, night-gaunts, and Hounds of God, I can only chalk up to The Graveyard Book's strong vision. My husband likes to say that the whole reason Buffy the Vampire Slayer worked as a television show was that it was a natural metaphor for the high school (and eventually college) experience. Likewise, The Graveyard Book has this strong,strange, wonderful metaphor about kids growing up, learning about the wider world, and exploring beyond the safe boundaries of their homes. There's so much you can read into this book. I mean, aren’t all adults just ghosts to kids anyway? Those funny talking people whose time has passed but that may provide some shelter and wisdom against the wider, crueler world. Plus Mr. Gaiman also includes characters in Bod's world that kids will wish they had in their own. Silas, a man who may be a vampire (though the word is never said) is every child's fantasy; A mysterious/magical guardian/friend who will tell you the truth when your parents will not. One thing I particularly liked about the book was the fact that Bod makes quite a few careless or thoughtless mistakes and yet you don’t feel particularly inclined to throttle him because of them. Too often in a work of fiction a person isn’t properly put into the head of their protagonist. So when that character walks off and does something stupid there’s the sense (sometimes faint, sometimes not) that they deserved it and you’re not going to stick around and read about somebody that dumb, are you? But even when Bod is at his most intolerable, his most childishly selfish and single-minded, you can understand and sympathize with him. Bod is no brat, a fact that implies right there that he is someone worth rooting for. We see our own young selves in Bod, and we root for him as a result. And as Bod reaches each stage in his growth, he encounters experiences and personalities that help him to reach maturity. That’s a lot to put on the plate of a l’il ole fantasy novel, particularly one that’s appropriate for younger kids. And it is appropriate too. Don’t let the fact that the first sentence in the book (“There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife”) put you off. The murder of Bod’s family is swift, immediate, and off-screen. What remains is just a great fantasy novel that has the potential to appeal to both boy and girl readers. Kid wants a ghost story? Check. Kid wants a fantasy novel set in another world appropriate for Harry Potter fans? Check. Kid wants a “good book”. That’s my favorite request. When the eleven-year-old comes up to my desk and begs for “a good book” I can just show them the cover and the title of this puppy and feel zero guilt when their little eyes light up. A good book it is. I guess that if I have any objections at all to the title it has something to do with the villains. They’re a bit sketchy, which I suppose is the point, but we live in an era where children’s fantasy novels spend oodles of time defining their antagonists’ motivations and histories. Gaiman’s more interested in his hero, which is natural, but the villains’ raison d’être is just a bit too vague for the average reader. Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that Bod’s family is slaughtered at the start of this tale you wouldn’t necessarily know whether or not to believe that these people are as nasty as we've been told. That said the book’s a peach. I once heard someone postulate that maybe Neil Gaiman wrote it just so that he could play with the sentence “It takes a graveyard to raise a child.” Unlikely. Fun, but unlikely. I mean, he does make a casual allusion that isn’t far off from that phrase, but he never goes whole hog. This book doesn’t feel like it was written to back up a joke. It feels like a book written by a parent with children growing up and moving out. It’s a title that tips its hat to kids making their way in the world, their pasts behind them, their futures unknown. This is not yet another silly little fantasy novel, but something with weight and depth. The fact that it just happens to be loads of fun to boot is simply a nice bonus. Highly recommended. Ages 10 and up.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nataliya

    It takes a graveyard to raise a child. This is a summary of this magical, sweet and imaginative story for children, which (in a good tradition of the Brothers Grimm) started with a triple homicide. “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.” Neil Gaiman does not waste time with unicorns and princesses and butterflies which are often considered acceptable for children. He kicks off his book with the brutal murders of a child's entire family, written in a chilling tone that made It takes a graveyard to raise a child. This is a summary of this magical, sweet and imaginative story for children, which (in a good tradition of the Brothers Grimm) started with a triple homicide. “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.” Neil Gaiman does not waste time with unicorns and princesses and butterflies which are often considered acceptable for children. He kicks off his book with the brutal murders of a child's entire family, written in a chilling tone that made me quickly turn all the lights on in my bedroom. Nobody Owens (named so because "he looks like nobody but himself"), or simply Bod, is the sole survivor of the aforementioned triple homicide, who is, in The Jungle Book style, promptly adopted by a sweet ghost couple in the graveyard inhabited by an afterlife community. He even gets a vampire as his guardian and mentor - “There were people you could hug, and then there was Silas.” Given the Privilege of the Graveyard and taught how to Fade into the background, Bod spends his entire childhood playing among graves, learning his letters from the gravestones, running into trouble with some ghouls, being tutored by a werewolf with a taste for Eastern European food, dancing with Death, and making friends with the ghost of a young witch burned at stake. He does crave human company though, and in addition to becoming an "imaginary friend" of a little girl also does a brief stint as a non-so-ordinary student at a school. All this while the evil that tried to murder him in the first place is still searching for him. Neil Gaiman has a real knack for the imaginative combination of sweet and creepy elements together with the bittersweet ending, creating a unique and unforgettable story which appeals both to children and adults. Told via a succession of interludes from Bod's unusual life, the story could have been overly sugary or overly morbid, but Gaiman easily avoids either extreme. This story has just the right mix of sweetness, whimsy, sadness, suspense, and adventures to keep the reader captivated throughout. Bod said, 'I want to see life. I want to hold it in my hands. I want to leave a footprint on the sand of a desert island. I want to play football with people. I want,' he said, and then he paused and he thought. 'I want everything.' Seeing the world depicted through the eyes of a quiet graveyard-raised but very human boy colors the story with almost Bradbury-esque feeling of nostalgia for the fleeting magic of childhood. We see the inevitable process of growing up, finding one's self, and letting go of the comforts of childhood home written poignantly and sweetly, and yet without overkill. “You're alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you're dead, it's gone. Over. You've made what you've made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.” Bod is a great character for a children's story. He is smart and resourceful, quiet and observant, loyal and brave, somewhat mischievous, and ultimately very life-like. His demeanor reminds me of my awesome younger brother, actually. Watching him grow up from a sweet child into what seems to be an actual good adult is a pleasure. “You're brave. You are the bravest person I know, and you are my friend. I don't care if you are imaginary.” This story, even though wonderfully complete, still reads almost like a tease at times. Gaiman gives us a delightful and lyrical glimpse into the world which I would love to get to know better. He creates such rich captivating characters that even after the book is over I am left longing for more. I would love to read a whole another book dedicated to Silas or Miss Lupescu or Lizzy the witch. (Mr. Gaiman, if you ever run out of other book ideas... just sayin'!) ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5 stars and a well-earned spot on my "for my future (hypothetical) daughter" reading shelf. "There was a smile dancing on his lips, although it was a wary smile, for the world is a bigger place than a little graveyard on a hill; and there would be dangers in it and mysteries, new friends to make, old friends to rediscover, mistakes to be made and many paths to be walked before he would, finally, return to the graveyard or ride with the Lady on the broad back of her great grey stallion. But between now and then, there was Life; and Bod walked into it with his eyes and his heart wide open."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    I just don't think Neil Gaiman can write something I won't enjoy. His worlds are so rich and visceral, his characters so unique and loveable. I loved this story, loved Bod with all my heart, and was proud of him as he grew up. I listened to this audiobook, narrated by Neil Gaiman, and it was top notch. Can't wait for my next

  8. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Orey

    For having such a sinister beginning and heavy life-and-death themes (it's the Jungle Book set in a graveyard), this book is a real joy to read. The graveyard magic is fantastic and grows in fun ways throughout the story, and the ghosts and creatures that inhabit this world make for a delightful cast of characters. I loved a ton of things as I read, but one that especially stuck out to me was how Bod grows older but the ghosts remain their same ages. So with each time jump, he interacts very For having such a sinister beginning and heavy life-and-death themes (it's the Jungle Book set in a graveyard), this book is a real joy to read. The graveyard magic is fantastic and grows in fun ways throughout the story, and the ghosts and creatures that inhabit this world make for a delightful cast of characters. I loved a ton of things as I read, but one that especially stuck out to me was how Bod grows older but the ghosts remain their same ages. So with each time jump, he interacts very differently with the same ghosts. And as always from Gaiman, all the pieces fit perfectly together by the end. It's a masterpiece of storytelling, really.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    When a family is murdered by a mysterious killer, one of the intended victims is missing, a young, diapered boy, who had wandered off just before the crime took place. But the killer needed to complete the job. Fortunately for the boy, he was taken in by the late residents of a nearby graveyard. And when the spirit of his newly deceased mother asks for their help, the residents agree to raise her son. He is given to the care of the Owens couple and named “Nobody,” Bod for short, as he looks like When a family is murdered by a mysterious killer, one of the intended victims is missing, a young, diapered boy, who had wandered off just before the crime took place. But the killer needed to complete the job. Fortunately for the boy, he was taken in by the late residents of a nearby graveyard. And when the spirit of his newly deceased mother asks for their help, the residents agree to raise her son. He is given to the care of the Owens couple and named “Nobody,” Bod for short, as he looks like “nobody but himself.” Neil Gaiman - from The Verge In this Newbery Medal, Carnegie Medal and Hugo Award winning novel, it takes a graveyard to raise an actual corporate being, and there are many who chip in. Perhaps most important is Silas, resident of the worlds of the dead and the living. As Bod grows there are many interesting sorts who cross his path, a young witch lacking a gravestone, an unscrupulous dealer in antiques, a snake-like protector of a long-dead master, and an array of teachers. And there must, of course, be a girl, Scarlett by name, a living girl. Bod does venture out into the unprotected world beyond the graveyard gates, not always with permission. He wants to go to school like other kids, and does, with mixed results. He wants to buy a headstone for a friend who lacks one. He wants to spend time with Scarlett. As he enters his teen years, he determines to find the person who had killed his family. This is not your usual coming-of-age story. Bod is indeed a likeable kid, good-hearted, innocent, easy to care about. One of Gaiman’s inspirations for this story was Kipling’s The Jungle Book, with Bod as Mowgli and the graveyard residents substituting, sometimes generically, for their animal counterparts in the earlier work. There is a section equivalent to Mowgli having been kidnapped by monkeys, a werewolf might be Akela. Bod’s nemesis is the killer Jack, the Shere-Khan of this tale. Each chapter jumps in time, and we see Bod take on new challenges as he ages. Of course, his home being a graveyard, the challenges he faces are not pedestrian. And finally, he faces an adult, mortal test that will define whether he actually gets to come of age or not. There is so much in The Graveyard Book that is just flat-out charming that you will find, as I did, that your lips keep curling up at the corners. From Bod trying to find properly fitting clothing, to struggling to learn some of the unusual skills the locals have mastered, to coping with some of the lesser baddies who make life difficult for those around them, Bod will gain your allegiance and your affection. The baddie, Jack, is a purely dark sort. No gray areas there. And that makes the central conflict one of pretty much pure good, against completely pure evil. There are plenty of moments of real danger for Bod and that keeps tension high. But there are nuances to other characters that add color and texture to what might otherwise have become a flat gray panel. These additions add heft to the story, and make one wonder larger thoughts about the limits of change, of redemption. This one is easy to recommend, to kids of all ages, but don’t wait too long. You never know when it might be…you know…too late. PS – Disney has acquired the film rights for this and it is likely that it will emerge, someday, with a look similar to that of Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas. =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author’s personal, Twitter, FB and Tumblr The official website for the book Neil Gaiman reads the entire book This Literary Wiki page seems rather slight I also reviewed Gaiman's -----Stardust, briefly, a few back -----The Ocean at the End of the Lane in August 2013 -----Trigger Warning in March 2015 -----The View From the Cheap Seats in June 2016

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    When first reading Neil Gaiman’s wonderfully dark but playful fantasy The Graveyard Book, I instantly discovered that I liked it a lot. When I realized that The Graveyard Book was also Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, but updated to be gothic and macabre, with a boy not raised by wolves but ghosts, I loved it. Winner of the Hugo Award in 2009, this is a rival to Gaiman’s masterpiece American Gods. This is vintage Gaiman at his masterfully fantastic best, an heir to the Grandmaster throne of When first reading Neil Gaiman’s wonderfully dark but playful fantasy The Graveyard Book, I instantly discovered that I liked it a lot. When I realized that The Graveyard Book was also Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, but updated to be gothic and macabre, with a boy not raised by wolves but ghosts, I loved it. Winner of the Hugo Award in 2009, this is a rival to Gaiman’s masterpiece American Gods. This is vintage Gaiman at his masterfully fantastic best, an heir to the Grandmaster throne of Ray Bradbury but a classic in its own right.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    This is how it usually goes with me and Neil Gaiman books: Scene: at the library. Picks up Stardust and reads back flap... thinks, "hey, this looks like a great book. What an interesting idea for a story..." When actually reading Stardust: bored. A couple months later. At the library. Picks up Neverwhere... thinks, "hmmm. This looks really interesting, but that's what I thought about Stardust. Well, maybe I'll give him one last chance." When actually reading Neverwhere: stupid last chances!!! So I This is how it usually goes with me and Neil Gaiman books: Scene: at the library. Picks up Stardust and reads back flap... thinks, "hey, this looks like a great book. What an interesting idea for a story..." When actually reading Stardust: bored. A couple months later. At the library. Picks up Neverwhere... thinks, "hmmm. This looks really interesting, but that's what I thought about Stardust. Well, maybe I'll give him one last chance." When actually reading Neverwhere: stupid last chances!!! So I was a little hesitant to pick up The Graveyard Book. Again, the idea is interesting - a toddler's family is killed, and he's raised in a graveyard by ghosts - but Gaiman's books have seemed interesting to me before. So it's with gratitude that I say: Finally. FINALLY! To me, this book (at long last) connected. I loved the characters and the concept, and the actual text seemed to flow and be more engaging than the previous books I'd read. I'm glad I gave Gaiman's books one more last chance after the last last chance. I may even try one more.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    The riproaring adventures of Huck Finn's wiser half-brother; Harry Potter's long lost second cousin. A Mowgli doppleganger, admittedly so. When Tim Burton died*, the void was taken up, wholly, by Mr. Gaiman. When will "The Graveyard Book" become a film? Cannot wait to watch singin'/dancin' ghosts, not the usual rerecycled shit from some Disney classic. Hey, it worked like a charm with "Coraline"! *career-wise, art-wise

  13. 5 out of 5

    emma

    Ho-ly shit. You guys! https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co... I just managed to get through a book - a whole freaking book - with no blatant sexism, racism, homophobia, girl-on-girl hate, instances of the beloved not like other girls trope, love triangles, flat characters, overused archetypes, that plotline where you discover your power and it’s consuming you, gag-worthy romance, weird writing quirks, overwrought emotion, social issues used to make it seem ~profound~, apocalyptically bad Ho-ly shit. You guys! https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co... I just managed to get through a book - a whole freaking book - with no blatant sexism, racism, homophobia, girl-on-girl hate, instances of the beloved not like other girls trope, love triangles, flat characters, overused archetypes, that plotline where you discover your power and it’s consuming you, gag-worthy romance, weird writing quirks, overwrought emotion, social issues used to make it seem ~profound~, apocalyptically bad characters, or plot slowness. In the year of our Lord two thousand and seventeen. I’m in shock. I have gotten so freaking used to hating books - and it’s not even that I choose to! It’s just...what are the chances of a book not containing one of those things? If you take my 2017 reading challenge so far as your not-so-random sample (I'm in a stat class, can you tell?), the chance is 2/36. Because out of the 36 books I’ve read this year, this is only the second I’ve given five stars. So I guess I’m really covering my bases on the negatives. No one can call me problematic, baby! But anyway, there’s good news in that paragraph of sad - besides just how woke I am. The good news is that this book is essentially perfect. According to my tried-and-true method - the one that skyrocketed me to fame, you guys - The Graveyard Book just full on rocks in every category. So let’s go through those categories! First, the setting. (If you somehow have managed to see this review without seeing my Caraval review, 1) congrats and 2) I’ve declared settings to be my favorite thing.) This book takes places in a motherf*cking graveyard, baby. (Let me know when I’ve said baby too many times. Oh, it already happened? Yeah, fair.) Anyway, graveyards are cool as hell. Setting a book there? Specifically in one with thousands of years of history and a historic monument on the grounds? Even cooler. And you know what graveyards mean, guys. Ghosts. YES, I AM INTERESTED IN A BOOK THAT CENTERS ON GHOSTS. ANY BOOK. GIVE ME ANY GHOST BOOK. But especially one that starts off with a ghastly death. (That’s not a spoiler. It’s literally the beginning of the book.) Anyway, this is everything I love combined. So, as I mentioned with an excess of enthusiasm a second ago, almost every character in this book is a ghost. Or at the very least, the type of creepy little thing that spends most of its time in a graveyard. (A handful of human characters who are probably Tim Burton fans included. It seems like Tim Burton fans would force themselves to hang out in graveyards just for the aesthetic. You feel me?) Anyway, it should go without saying that the characters are great. They’re graveyard inhabitants. This book also has a little bit of magic in it. MAGIC, I SAY! A very cool kind of magic. It gives you a hint of the creeps when it happens. I’m not going to say any more than that! Read to find out, as my elementary school librarian would say. Other than that...this book is bananas well written. An absolute pleasure to pick up. The title is great. (More books should just be named The Subject Thing. Like The LEGO Movie. That was a successful film. Take a hint.) Also fast-paced. Made me feel emotions. (A truly rare occurrence.) Cute ending. What more can I say? Bottom line: READ THIS BOOK. READ IT READ IT READ IT. I never like anything and I loved this.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    I've got a doctor's appointment scheduled for Monday. Maybe I'll ask what's wrong with me, I mean, why don't I love Neil Gaiman as much as everyone else? After all the hype surrounding him, I finally gave in and started reading his books. Aside from his collection of short stories, Fragile Things, I haven't been as impressed as I expected to be. The Graveyard Book in particular I found to be slow moving and depressing. Maybe that's inevitable being that most of the characters in it are dead. I've got a doctor's appointment scheduled for Monday. Maybe I'll ask what's wrong with me, I mean, why don't I love Neil Gaiman as much as everyone else? After all the hype surrounding him, I finally gave in and started reading his books. Aside from his collection of short stories, Fragile Things, I haven't been as impressed as I expected to be. The Graveyard Book in particular I found to be slow moving and depressing. Maybe that's inevitable being that most of the characters in it are dead. It's not that the writing isn't good. Gaiman's stories generally aren't to blame, either, in fact there are some flashes of real ingenuity in some of them. Coraline and Stardust have been standouts for me personally in this respect. I have noticed that sometimes the scene description is lacking. There have been moments in the middle of a page where I've stopped and said "wait, where is this happening?" and when I "look around" all I see are a couple characters in a room about as decorative as the inside of this text block I'm writing in right now. But those aren't common occurrences and they're certainly not enough to sour the whole book. I don't know, if the doctor can't help me maybe I'll seek a second opinion from the librarian.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    A friend of mine had an extra ticket to see Neil Gaiman's sold-out lecture in Denver last week, so we rode the bus downtown, walked a block or two, then turned a street corner, only to be startled by some 2,000 fervent fans wrapped around and around the building, shivering and salivating at the prospect of entering the doors. I was in awe of their devotion, and I felt like an imposter, too. I'd never read anything of Neil's, other than an illustrated picture book for kids, and if these A friend of mine had an extra ticket to see Neil Gaiman's sold-out lecture in Denver last week, so we rode the bus downtown, walked a block or two, then turned a street corner, only to be startled by some 2,000 fervent fans wrapped around and around the building, shivering and salivating at the prospect of entering the doors. I was in awe of their devotion, and I felt like an imposter, too. I'd never read anything of Neil's, other than an illustrated picture book for kids, and if these thirty-something fans only knew that I had a scored a rare ticket to his sold-out show. . . I'm sure they'd have pulled their wands out from their cloaks and performed the Cruciatus curse on me. Neil's fans are primarily what I'd call the “Harry Potter kids.” Meaning, the kids who were the perfect ages (somewhere between 10 and 17) when Harry Potter emerged like a lightning bolt on the juvenile fiction scene. I was at least 10 years older than most members of the audience, but little did those kids know that I was a young mom with my first baby when Harry debuted in 1997 and I not only read every book in the series, I attended every midnight release of them, too (in a witch's hat, no less). So. . . I'm not exactly far fetched in terms of my potential as a fan. But, as of last week, I didn't have an opinion about his fiction. This week I introduced myself, properly, to Neil, by reading his 2008 Young Adult fiction, The Graveyard Book. It just so happens to be a Newberry winner, so it obviously impressed someone beyond me, but I read it more for its universal appeal as a coming-of-age story. It's lovely, and incredibly imaginative. Not as imaginative as, say, Ray Bradbury (who is??), but definitely as good as Roald Dahl or J.K. Rowling. I loved the young protagonist here, Nobody Owens. . . and I found that Neil really knows how to embody his characters. Not one of them felt false in action or speech. It is a fantastical book, but if you lack imagination, it may not be for you. Personally, I rejoice whenever anyone, anywhere, picks up the technicolor dreamcoat and tries it on for size. Come, all ye dream makers, visionaries, conjurors. . . Our black and white world is starved for your color. People want to forget the impossible. It makes their world safer. (And, by the way, Neil. . . THANK YOU, OH, THANK YOU, for referring to Nobody's parents as his adoptive parents ONLY ONCE. I can tell you know that calling someone “adopted/adoptive” over and over again is painful and invalidating. Your REAL parents are the ones who love you and raise you. AMEN).

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman The Graveyard Book is a children's fantasy novel by the English author Neil Gaiman, simultaneously published in Britain and America during 2008. The Graveyard Book traces the story of the boy Nobody "Bod" Owens who is adopted and raised by the supernatural occupants of a graveyard after his family is brutally murdered. The story begins as Jack (usually referred to in the novel as "the man Jack") murders most of the members of a family (later revealed to be the The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman The Graveyard Book is a children's fantasy novel by the English author Neil Gaiman, simultaneously published in Britain and America during 2008. The Graveyard Book traces the story of the boy Nobody "Bod" Owens who is adopted and raised by the supernatural occupants of a graveyard after his family is brutally murdered. The story begins as Jack (usually referred to in the novel as "the man Jack") murders most of the members of a family (later revealed to be the Dorian family) except for the toddler upstairs. Unknown to him, the toddler has climbed out of his crib to explore. The toddler crawls out of the house and up a hill to a graveyard where the ghosts find him. They discuss whether to keep him until the Lady on the Grey (implied to be the Angel of Death) appears and suggests that the baby should be kept ("The dead should have charity"). The ghosts accept, and Mrs. Owens (the ghost who first discovered the baby) and her husband, Mr. Owens, become the foster parents. The baby is named Nobody Owens (since Mrs. Owens declares "He looks like nobody except himself") and is granted the Freedom of the Graveyard, which allows Nobody to pass through solid objects when in the graveyard, including its gates. The caretaker Silas (subsequently implied to be an ancient and formerly evil vampire, now reformed) accepts the duty of providing for Nobody. The man Jack is persuaded by Silas that the toddler has crawled down the hill, and he eventually loses the trail. The bulk of the book is about Nobody's (often called Bod) adventures in and out of the graveyard as he grows up. As a boy, he befriends a girl called Scarlett Perkins, and she is eventually convinced by her mother that he is her imaginary friend. It is with her that Bod discovers a creature called the Sleer, who has been waiting for thousands of years for his "Master" to come and reclaim him. The Sleer's greatest duty is to protect the Master and his treasure from the world. Scarlett's parents believe she has gone missing during this adventure and when she returns, consequently decide to move the family to Scotland. Nobody is once captured by the Ghouls and then rescued by his tutor Miss Lupescu, discovering she is a Hound of God (i.e. a werewolf). Bod befriends Elizabeth Hempstock, the ghost of an unjustly executed witch and through a short adventure that includes being kidnapped by a greedy pawnshop owner, finds a gravestone for her. Once he tries to attend regular primary school with other human children, but it ends in a disaster when two bullies make it impossible for him to maintain a low profile. Throughout his adventures, Bod learns supernatural abilities such as Fading (allows Bod to turn invisible, but only if no one is paying attention to him), Haunting (which allows Bod to make people feel uneasy, though this ability can be amplified to terrify them), and Dream Walking (going into others' dreams and controlling the dream, though he cannot cause physical harm). These abilities are taught to Bod by his loving graveyard parents, his ghost teacher Mr. Pennyworth, and Silas. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی ام ماه ژوئن سال 2011 میلادی عنوان: کتاب گورستان؛ نویسنده: نیل گیمن؛ مترجم: فرزاد فربد؛ تصویرگر: کریس ریدل؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، کتاب پنجره، 1388، در 308 ص، مصور، شابک: 9789647822596؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی برای کودکان سده 21 م با ترجمه: کیوان عبیدی آشتیانی؛ تصویرگر: دیو مک کین؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، افق، 1388، در 419 ص، مصور، شابک: 9789643696337؛ داستان کتاب گورستان، داستان پسری ست که توسط مردگان به فرزندی پذیرفته می‌شود. او از ارواح، نیروهای فراطبیعی، ناپدید شدن را می‌آموزد؛ و با موجودات شروری روبرو می‌شود.؛ ...؛ ا. شربیانی

  17. 5 out of 5

    Adina

    The Graveyard Book is my 3rd Gaiman so I can now say I am a fan. I even follow him on Facebook, the only author that has this privilege. I was a bit skeptical before I started because I wasn’t sure he can pull of a children’s novel set in a graveyard without scaring the shit out of the little ones. I shouldn’t have worried. The book managed to be light and fun despite its beginning. A family is murdered by a strange man named Jack and the only survivor, a 1 year old toddler, runs away in a The Graveyard Book is my 3rd Gaiman so I can now say I am a fan. I even follow him on Facebook, the only author that has this privilege. I was a bit skeptical before I started because I wasn’t sure he can pull of a children’s novel set in a graveyard without scaring the shit out of the little ones. I shouldn’t have worried. The book managed to be light and fun despite its beginning. A family is murdered by a strange man named Jack and the only survivor, a 1 year old toddler, runs away in a graveyard where is adopted by ghosts and a vampire? named Silas. Each chapter follows the little boy, baptized Nobody (Bod) as he grows up and is up to mischief. His adventures include being kidnapped by ghouls, meeting a witch, going to school, entering a strange tomb guarded by a Sleer. Slowly, we also find out who the man Jack was and why he murdered Bod’s family and was searching for the boy to finish the job. As one might suspect, The Graveyard Book is a tribute to The Jungle Book. The setting is spookier, instead of animals we have ghosts and other magical beings. I listened to a Full Cast audio performance of this novel and I can say that it is the best way to enjoy this beautiful piece for Gaiman magic. The cast was amazing, it is probably the best audio book I listened to until now.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Val ⚓️ Shameless Non-Snowflake ⚓️

    4 Stars My reading has been all over the place lately. I have been reading a lot of adult fantasy, YA fantasy, and just straight up middle grade books...and very little romance. For whatever reason, that is just what I have felt like reading. This was a cute, if creepy, little book. It was for me what I expected The Little Prince to be, but alas, wasn't. I really liked Bod and all the characters of the graveyard, especially Silas. I also enjoyed Gaiman's writing style - which is a good thing, 4 Stars My reading has been all over the place lately. I have been reading a lot of adult fantasy, YA fantasy, and just straight up middle grade books...and very little romance. For whatever reason, that is just what I have felt like reading. This was a cute, if creepy, little book. It was for me what I expected The Little Prince to be, but alas, wasn't. I really liked Bod and all the characters of the graveyard, especially Silas. I also enjoyed Gaiman's writing style - which is a good thing, since I bought this as part of a four book box set. I look forward to reading the others.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    **SPOILER ALERT** This book was entirely mediocre. The plot was disjointed and very loosely woven throughout the story, and much of it didn't make any sense. Details (what few details there were) seemed to be added at the last minute to make later events in the story make sense. It's almost as if Gaiman wrote the middle first, then the beginning, and then the end. I think he had a million ideas floating around in his head and had no idea how to connect them all, so he made up some stuff on the **SPOILER ALERT** This book was entirely mediocre. The plot was disjointed and very loosely woven throughout the story, and much of it didn't make any sense. Details (what few details there were) seemed to be added at the last minute to make later events in the story make sense. It's almost as if Gaiman wrote the middle first, then the beginning, and then the end. I think he had a million ideas floating around in his head and had no idea how to connect them all, so he made up some stuff on the fly. Also, I'm willing to accept a large amount of non-sensical information in a fantasy novel, but there has to be some sort of explanation behind it. For example--if a boy lives in a graveyard his entire life, what happens if he needs to go to the dentist or take a shower or get vaccinated? Somehow, everyone reacts completely normally to the protagonist, even though he must be a filthy, smelly toothless wreck. Also, at the end of the book, the ghosts just kind of release the main character into the world--the boy who is only 15 and has had almost no formal schooling in his entire life. What is this kid supposed to do with himself? He's been getting his education from people who've been deceased for at least 150 years and has nothing on him but a little money and a passport. Yeah, I'm sure he'll do REALLY well on his own. Anyway, I didn't think it was a bad book, but it certainly wasn't a good one, and it was WAY below Neil Gaiman's usual standards.

  20. 4 out of 5

    mark monday

    Once there was a little girl who lived in a big house in a strange and wonderful city in the North. Her name: Dove Black*. An unusual name for an unusual girl. Her equally unusual mother took her away for the summer, across the sea. I came to that strange and wonderful city and stayed in that big house. In the house was a book. The Graveyard Book! I fell prey to an odd illness during my visit; while my companions made merry in the streets and taverns of that city, I recovered on the wide and Once there was a little girl who lived in a big house in a strange and wonderful city in the North. Her name: Dove Black*. An unusual name for an unusual girl. Her equally unusual mother took her away for the summer, across the sea. I came to that strange and wonderful city and stayed in that big house. In the house was a book. The Graveyard Book! I fell prey to an odd illness during my visit; while my companions made merry in the streets and taverns of that city, I recovered on the wide and sunny porch of that house, the clucks of chickens from the chicken coop and the laughter of the children playing on the street making me feel rather less lonely. I took The Graveyard Book down from the shelf and read it. It was perfect company. Indeed, it is a perfect book! I’ll dispense with much of a synopsis because you can read that anywhere. An infant is taken in by a graveyard full of ghosts (and more); they raise him as their ward and son. As he grows up, young Nobody Owens learns a lot about death and a little bit about life as well. Gaiman notes The Jungle Book as an inspiration; I’m not sure I would have thought of Kipling’s classic myself but after reading that comment, it makes perfect sense, title and all. There, done with synopsis. Many times I felt as if the book was tailor-made for a young mark monday, what with the eerie atmosphere, the ambiguity, the graveyard, adventure mixed with sadness, life and death existing side by side, and at the core of it all, an unusual and genuinely loving family – but a created family, not necessarily a family by blood. All those things appealed to me at a pretty deep level as a kid, which is probably why I really loved Bellair’s The House With a Clock in Its Walls as well. I wish this book had been around when I was younger; I can easily picture connecting to it in so many different ways. But I’m an adult and I still feel a deep connection to the book. All those things above are still things that connect me to a novel, of course, but my feelings about many of those things have intensified. The idea of a ‘created’ family, one that can come together for a variety of reasons but one that will look out for and support and love its members, one that embraces the difference of the individuals within that family… so meaningful to me! It’s an idea that I didn’t start experiencing until my early 20s, oh the life of a quasi-punk cynical jerk outsider who suddenly realizes that there are others out there like him, happy sigh, and it’s an idea that I feel like I’ve tried to carry on with my adult circle of friends and within my work place. It’s actually why I even chose my place of work. The Graveyard Book offers this found family as meaningful and valid and beautiful, much as The Jungle Book did. Gaiman doesn’t bluntly pound the point home and he isn’t mawkish or even all that sentimental about it all – but it is such a central part of what makes the novel work. And it is also what makes the ending such a sweet and sad one. Sometimes, perhaps always, you do need to move on. Some things are transitory. Sometimes those families that you spent so much time with melt away and stay on only as memories. But you can always make those families again! Yes. Ambiguity: I love it and I yearn for it in books. The feeling that the author doesn’t want to spell things out for you, that they realize the reader may gain pleasure from figuring things out on their own, filling in the blanks, imagining why something may have happened and what may come next. Not being spoon-fed every little detail and not tying it all up with a neat little bow. It seems like an easy thing to be able to do but I think many authors just don’t want to do that. Perhaps they don’t realize there is a sort of tyranny in excessive detail, in paths made painfully clear and obvious, fluorescent lighting rather than shadows and moonlight, endings that explain it all away instead of showing a newly opened door – an ending that leads to a beginning. That is one of the beautiful things about this book, that kind of an ending and the ambiguity of it all. Sure, it explained many things. But it left many doors open, for the reader to step through and explore on their own. Maybe this is also why I appreciate books written for children and young adults: because of the basic form of the genre, the actual length of such books, perhaps even because of the attention span of the audience… things often have to be left to the reader’s imagination. I like simplicity that creates mystery, simplicity that is its own form of depth. “Hello,” he said, as he danced with her. “I don’t know your name.” “Names aren’t really important,” she said. “I love your horse. He’s so big! I never knew horses could be that big.” “He is gentle enough to bear the mightiest of you away on his broad back, and strong enough for the smallest of you as well.” “Can I ride him?” asked Bod. “One day,” she told him, and her cobweb skirts shimmered. “One day. Everybody does.” “Promise?” “I promise.” Death is not the end! I don’t know if I believe in ghosts or heaven or a cosmic consciousness that we all float into. But I do believe in the somewhat corny We All Live On In Some Way, whether it be as memories or as influences or as just one more part of humanity that is connected to the rest of humanity because we are all humans. I dunno. The Graveyard Book literalizes that concept, of course. It does it in a way that can make sense to both children and adults – showing how things are forgotten, perhaps, and that’s not so bad really, and it does it by showing how we live on in each other, by the things we do and the people we care for. Is Gaiman a spiritual man? Surely he must be. There is a certain kind of spirituality to much of his fiction, an ease with and an interest in describing worlds that are larger than us – and yet he makes that greater world rather wonderfully prosaic, real, worlds we could actually live in, somehow. Some may think such things are depressing – or that a book that is set in a graveyard and that opens with death and where the dead live next to the living, all of that, that that is a depressing book. To me, it is the opposite of depressing. Death is a part of life; there would be no life without death. This book for children recognizes that and even, amazingly, celebrates it. The book certainly knows how to illustrate Growing Up. Each chapter is a step forward, a snapshot of Nobody Owens as he grows up. At the end, it captures that wistfulness, that sweet sadness at the knowledge that growing up means you may never look at things the same way again, you can never go home again and if you do, that home will be a different place. That home may be a physical place, it may be a group of people or even just one person, it may be a feeling of being protected or a place where you learned and grew and loved and lived in a particular way. Good things to cry over. The tears may be melancholy ones, wistful tears – but yet not depressing ones, not to me at least. If anything, they affirm life. And growing up, or moving on, or going down new paths… it is also an adventure. I love how the ending makes that perfectly clear. Sure, shed some tears over what has passed and can never be again, but know that the future is still a path that can lead you to all sorts of places. It doesn’t matter how old you are – old Silas is about to go on his own adventure too. And so Nobody is sad and moves on and is happy and moves on and he jumps onto that path and moves on. Trudi said in her review “Gaiman reminds me of why I love to read and I love him for that.” Yes, Trudi, yes! Very well said. After I finished the book, I looked through Dove Black’s bookshelves and found many things that I loved. A lot of Philip Pullman, Susan Cooper’s Dark Is Rising series, Narnia, books by Edward Eager and Louise Fitzhugh and Colin Maloy and Garth Nix, and of course Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. I admire your taste, Dove Black. I hope all of these books have informed your world view. But how could they not? They must. Your mother put your paintings and your awards on the wall and she should be proud: you are a talented young lady. I think you will grow up to be an equally impressive adult. I wish you the best of luck! But I really don’t think you’ll need it. ____________ * A real little girl but of course not her real name. I tried to think up an approximate of her unusual name but I fear I have failed. Her real name is so cool!

  21. 4 out of 5

    JV (semi-hiatus)

    This is my third Gaiman novel. It's a spectacular masterpiece that delightfully blends the macabre with the grave (no pun intended) and the whimsical creating a haunting, mesmerizing allegorical tale about the ephemeral joys of childhood, the gradual transition to adulthood, and the philosophical dichotomy of life and death. "It is going to take more than just a couple of good-hearted souls to raise this child. It will take a graveyard." The Graveyard (a nature reserve), Old Town, England — This is my third Gaiman novel. It's a spectacular masterpiece that delightfully blends the macabre with the grave (no pun intended) and the whimsical creating a haunting, mesmerizing allegorical tale about the ephemeral joys of childhood, the gradual transition to adulthood, and the philosophical dichotomy of life and death. "It is going to take more than just a couple of good-hearted souls to raise this child. It will take a graveyard." The Graveyard (a nature reserve), Old Town, England — Three ruthless murders. One boy miraculously saved. Nobody "Bod" Owens, named as such for "He looks like nobody but himself", has been raised and educated by a bunch of friendly residential ghosts after his birth family has been brutally slaughtered by a man named Jack. With Bod's loving, adoptive spectral parents along with Silas, his lone guardian, they introduce him into a peculiar yet secure world of the graveyard. However, things change as he grows up. He isn't allowed to venture into the mundane world of the living. What's a kid going to do with restrictions imposed on him? Well, while inside the premises of the graveyard, Bod discovers things in the deepest, darkest part of that solitary hill and within its bowels lie mysterious artefacts guarded by a vigilant, ghastly sentinel. There's also that vengeful, dead witch named Liza Hempstock buried in an unmarked grave, perpetually making its presence known in that unconsecrated ground; and grotesque ghouls that exist beyond the decrepit gate. Silas also leaves Bod from time to time and tasks Ms. Lupescu to take good care of him. All these events are interconnected, but how, for what purpose, and why? That, dear curious reader, is for me to know and for you to find out. "Because there are mysteries. Because there are things that people are forbidden to speak about. Because there are things they do not remember." You might dismiss this novel as something of a codswallop, all childish and gibberish, but beneath the dark, gothic, and morbid tale, there's a deeper truth etched in here that goes beyond the tree of life and the veil of death. As Gandalf would allude about living and passing, "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us" and that death is not the end. The Graveyard Book is a magnificent ode to childhood that I, myself, couldn't go back to and couldn't look at things the same way again. "You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it." However, it's also a fond look at adulthood. "If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained." Gaiman creates a dark, enchanting tale with vivid imageries and beautiful prose that tugs at your heartstrings and shatters it with its inevitable, lachrymose ending. This book reminded me of Kipling's The Jungle Book's story, de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince's themes, Lovecraft's creatures, and Tolkien's wisdom, with a little sprinkle of Pixar's Coco's motifs. This is such a wondrous tale that I'll forever treasure and love. "Face your life Its pain, its pleasure, Leave no path untaken" Audiobook sample and comments: A hearty, wonderful read by the author himself. There's another full-cast production sample here, if you prefer that one.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    You can find this review and more on Booknest. I’ve now officially read every novel and short story and piece of nonfiction that Gaiman has published, outside of his graphic novels. And this particular book was probably one of my favorites. It was an adorable adventure, a dark version of The Jungle Book if Mowgli had been raised by ghosts instead of jungle predators. Gaiman writes wonderful children’s books. Sometimes kids want to read something that scares them just a little, and Gaiman does You can find this review and more on Booknest. I’ve now officially read every novel and short story and piece of nonfiction that Gaiman has published, outside of his graphic novels. And this particular book was probably one of my favorites. It was an adorable adventure, a dark version of The Jungle Book if Mowgli had been raised by ghosts instead of jungle predators. Gaiman writes wonderful children’s books. Sometimes kids want to read something that scares them just a little, and Gaiman does that very well, both in this book and in Coraline. He manages to balance the creepy and the cute in a way that, though a child reading might feel a small thrill of terror, they understand that everything will work out all right in the end. Or, that’s been my experience, at least. Nobody Owens, who goes by Bod, is as well-adjusted as one could hope of a boy raised in a graveyard but its deceased residents. He stumbles into grand adventures with his teachers and friends (both living and dead), and always comes out on the other side just a bit more mature than when he entered. This is a story about growing up, and it was lovingly told. It was also beautifully and lovingly narrated. I listened to the audiobook, because while Gaiman is not quite one of my favorite authors (though I do love his work and he's in my top ten), he is without a doubt my favorite audiobook reader. There is something about an author narrating their own books that is simply magical. And it doesn’t hurt a thing when that author’s voice sounds just the tiniest bit like Benedict Cumberbatch, who will always be my Sherlock. All in all, this was a fun story well-told, and I highly recommend it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    I read the first chapter with a massive grin on my face because it was so obvious where this book was going, and it sounded marvellous. “I do. For good or for ill- and I firmly believe that it is for the good – Mrs Owens and her husband have taken this child under their protection. It is going to take more than just a couple of good-hearted souls to raise this child. “It will”, said Silas, “take a graveyard” Nobody’s, or Bod to his friends, has just had his parents murdered by “The Man named I read the first chapter with a massive grin on my face because it was so obvious where this book was going, and it sounded marvellous. “I do. For good or for ill- and I firmly believe that it is for the good – Mrs Owens and her husband have taken this child under their protection. It is going to take more than just a couple of good-hearted souls to raise this child. “It will”, said Silas, “take a graveyard” Nobody’s, or Bod to his friends, has just had his parents murdered by “The Man named Jack.” Bod got away by wondering into the graveyard in an infantile escape from his cot. It saved his life. The local graveyard residents name him Nobody because, by their logic he is nobody. The residents, the ghosts, decide to raise him as one of their own; the only problem is he isn’t dead! They try to teach him things like disappearing and repapering, and other ghostly tricks. This doesn’t come easy to him but, somehow he manages to grasp some of the basics, which include remaining hidden in crowds and how detach himself from other people. This results in Bid becoming a bookish like recluse; his only friends are the dead. This sounds worse than it is when considering some of the exciting characters than infest the Graveyard. Characters like a druidic warrior that protects the barrow next to the yard and a long dead Roman called Silas. Silas serves as Bod’s guardian, his teacher and his friend. The ghost protects him form the dangers of the human world, which is quite ironic really, the chief danger being “The Man named Jack” who still wants Bod dead. This really is one of those rare books that you can tell from the first few pages, no words, that it is going to be something great. I loved this book; I don’t think I stopped smiling when I read it. The story really appealed to my inner child like so few books have done before. I think it’s time to buy more of Neil Gaiman’s books!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Stiefvater

    I have just this moment closed the cover of THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, after loitering rather longingly over the acknowledgments and possibly the back jacket flap as well. I don't think I can manage a proper synopsis or review of this book -- about an orphaned boy who is raised by a graveyard of ghosts -- so I think I will just have to say that I love it very, very deeply. For so long I refused to pick it up because I thought it sounded quaint and possibly twee, but it was neither. It pushed all the I have just this moment closed the cover of THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, after loitering rather longingly over the acknowledgments and possibly the back jacket flap as well. I don't think I can manage a proper synopsis or review of this book -- about an orphaned boy who is raised by a graveyard of ghosts -- so I think I will just have to say that I love it very, very deeply. For so long I refused to pick it up because I thought it sounded quaint and possibly twee, but it was neither. It pushed all the buttons that Maggies love to have pushed: archetypes, humor, high stakes, personal stakes, and a deep ingrained sense of folklore that only comes from the author having grown up with rather than researched it. Add to all that and I have to say it was, for me, the most well-written of all of Gaiman's books that I've read. I kept seeing things that I associated as Gaimanisms, but they felt absolutely right here. Weapons wielded by someone for so long that they've become part of their arms. Just ahhh. Loved it. If there are Susan Cooper fans out there longing for that sense of other from the Dark is Rising books, pick this book up.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I can't possibly tell if I'd love this book as much if I hadn't read it under such special circumstances, so this review will serve as proof that context matters! It all started a couple of years ago in August, one of the first days of school. I had a literature lesson with Grade 8, and the topic was: "What shall we read together?" I made several suggestions, and they turned them down. They made several others, and I turned them down, mostly because I didn't think the books were appropriate for I can't possibly tell if I'd love this book as much if I hadn't read it under such special circumstances, so this review will serve as proof that context matters! It all started a couple of years ago in August, one of the first days of school. I had a literature lesson with Grade 8, and the topic was: "What shall we read together?" I made several suggestions, and they turned them down. They made several others, and I turned them down, mostly because I didn't think the books were appropriate for group reading, but sometimes with the comment that I hadn't read them and therefore wasn't prepared to teach them. Students, smelling a chance to change the course of the discussion, immediately objected: "That is so unfair. Teachers always read the books before, and know exactly what to look for, whereas we have to guess. We never actually read a book TOGETHER, as you claim!" I thought about it for a while, and then I made a spontaneous decision (view spoiler)[ and am now outing myself as a quite unprofessional teacher, at least on this particular day, - acting on an impulse, breaking away from my lesson plan (hide spoiler)] . Grabbing "The Graveyard Book", which I had ordered the week before as part of a Newbery Medal package, I agreed: "We will do it! We will read this novel together, and discover its peculiarities in class, together, without me preparing worksheets! But you will have to work on tasks that we decide upon as we go along! It's not a vacation!" They were thrilled, and I was worried. Hoping for a decent read, but knowing that quite a few Newbery medalists had been disappointing and hugely biased experiences, I kept my fingers crossed. This was my first Neil Gaiman as well, which made it even trickier. Had I read the others that I know and love now, like The Ocean at the End of the Lane or Fortunately, the Milk, or Anansi Boysfor example, I would have been fine. Of course I could have cheated and read up on reviews and summaries, I could have checked teacher websites and secretly have guided the course. I could have read my private copy that I had at home. But I didn't. I wanted to see for myself what the impact would be of me discovering literature TOGETHER with the students. I didn't want to cheat on our agreement. And so we started... And what a start it was! Nobody Owens' story begins with brutal, graphic murder. And I worried... not a thriller, I hoped! Then we had a graveyard community of dead souls, deciding to raise the human, living orphan among them, and teaching him the rules of the graveyard. And I worried... not a vampire or zombie book, I hoped! One of the first charming scenes is a council in the graveyard, in which the community has to decide what to do with the living child. It reminded me strangely of another book I cherished. And I worried ...not a copycat plot, I hoped! As we moved deeper and deeper into the story, we found ourselves discussing Kipling's Jungle Book over and over again, comparing and contrasting motives in the classic we all knew and the new story we were reading for the first time. A turning point was reached when Nobody Owens, Bod, was kidnapped by ghouls. They behaved exactly like the Banderlog towards Mowgli, and I gave up. I told the students: "This REALLY is very close to the Jungle Book. It is almost an identical pattern!" And they knew what I thought about plagiarising! That was the moment one student all of a sudden discovered something, and yelled out, very loudly: "HE EVEN STOLE THE TITLE!" The Graveyard Book! Of course he did. But now I didn't worry anymore. I knew it was on purpose, a homage, not theft. And we agreed to research at least this tiny bit about the book before reading on, and were pleased to discover: Neil Gaiman wrote this story because of his deep love for The Jungle Book, and he transferred the plot to a place of equal border experience. It was not the border between wild jungle and civilisation, but the border between life and death. And he created a character that was equally adapted to both worlds. Imagine how proud the students were to have discovered this connection without prepared study guides and without me coaxing them in the right direction. They found it out by themselves. A literary break-through for them, and a hilarious detective story with clues and satisfying discussions. "Elementary, Watson!" Bod has other literary role models, like the mighty Odysseus. He, too, is on a journey to find back to his roots, his home. Just like Bod, he carries the name Nobody for a while as a disguise to avoid detection and to trick a murderous enemy. Bod's journey is one towards understanding the value of life, which is beautifully pointed out by one of his dead friends. How we laughed at the following quote, my students and I: “Truly, life is wasted on the living, Nobody Owens. For one of us is too foolish to live, and it is not I.” One of my challenges with reading this and immediately discussing it with the teenagers was that I was often taken off guard, and didn't have time to reflect before they reacted and bombarded me with questions. When I said so, somewhere in the middle of the story, they replied: "But that is exactly what we feel. And it is much more fun when you are in disbelief as well, not quite believing your eyes!" They cherished my ignorance and childish pleasure more than anything, and it became a reading journey of discovery in its own right for us as a group. Once I forgot to stop reading aloud at the end of the lesson, and was taken by surprise when the door opened and the next class peered in. I quickly closed the book, and the 14-year-old listeners moaned in frustration: "OH NO, you can't stop NOW!" I think that was the best moment I ever had when reading with a class. Imagine that. A whole bunch of students taller and stronger than yourself, sitting around you like a primary school class, waiting for the book to continue. I bow to Neil Gaiman for that moment of teacher bliss! On the other hand, it's his fault I did something a teacher may never, ever do in front of a class in full puberty: I cried in the end. Yes, I really did, in front of all of them, and my voice broke, and I couldn't read on. That's how sad and beautiful it was. For apart from being a homage to Kipling and Homer, and a classic coming-of-age story, and a mystery and a thriller, and a romance and a vampire story, it is a philosophical reflection on what makes humans human, and what makes life worth living. The answer, quite simply, is: caring, friendship and love, along with understanding for different life styles. As long as you are alive, there is hope, and you can change the world: “You're alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you're dead, it's gone. Over. You've made what you've made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.” There is nothing to fear but fear itself: “Fear is contagious. You can catch it. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to say that they're scared for the fear to become real." And the beauty of Bod's situation is that he can live life to its full potential without fearing death: “Bod shrugged. "So?" he said. "It's only death. I mean, all of my best friends are dead.” I love this book!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    This is the first book I ever read by Neil Gaiman and it is my favorite of his books. I saw this book while volunteering in the library at my son's elementary school. I decided why not? It was a book for kids or so I thought...after all it had won the American Newbery Medal and the HUGO award for children's fantasy book. I checked it out using my son's library card thinking I would read it to him at bedtime. It proved to be too dark for him but I was hooked. Most of the book takes place in a This is the first book I ever read by Neil Gaiman and it is my favorite of his books. I saw this book while volunteering in the library at my son's elementary school. I decided why not? It was a book for kids or so I thought...after all it had won the American Newbery Medal and the HUGO award for children's fantasy book. I checked it out using my son's library card thinking I would read it to him at bedtime. It proved to be too dark for him but I was hooked. Most of the book takes place in a graveyard. A toddler (nobody or Bod) crawls into a graveyard after the old man "Jack" kills his family. The toddler is raised by the Ghosts who live in the graveyard. The book is about Bod and his adventures in around and out of the graveyard as he grows up. Such a great book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hamad

    This Review Blog Twitter Instagram “If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.” This fortunately was one of Gaiman’s books that worked for me. I had my copy for a while but I wanted to read it in October since it is the spooky month and I finally did it. I would not consider it a horror story as I saw some readers shelf it but it was still a good choice for this month! The writing was very digestible and easy to follow and I think this is part of This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 “If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.” ★ This fortunately was one of Gaiman’s books that worked for me. I had my copy for a while but I wanted to read it in October since it is the spooky month and I finally did it. I would not consider it a horror story as I saw some readers shelf it but it was still a good choice for this month! ★ The writing was very digestible and easy to follow and I think this is part of the reason it is such a huge success. It can be read by all different age groups and there will be something to enjoy in it! I was not so sure about the illustrations in the book because they did not add anything and they were not that great and yet I am always excited for illustrations in books! (One of the picture was like the pics we have in medical school for spot diagnosis!). ★ I felt like it was written as a collection of short stories that work simultaneously to give a larger story and that was confirmed by the author himself after I finished the story and read the speech he gave for the award given for this book! That speech was really great and I really encourage readers and writers to find it and read it. “People want to forget the impossible. It makes their world safer.” ★ The characters were well written and each chapter was used to flesh out a character and bring them closer to the MC! The characters’ development was really great and I enjoy this kind of story telling! ★ The pacing was fast and the story was easy to go through, I finished it in 1 day and wanted more from this world! I can not believe that I liked a book with events mostly happening in a graveyard but it really works! ★ Summary: A fast paced well written story with a nice cast of characters that grow on you and a meaningful plot. The book is well balanced and can be enjoyed by all kind of readers. I specially recommend it for Halloween and October marathons! “You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” You can get more books from Book Depository

  28. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    Even as a child, I’ve always been obsessed with ghosts and cemeteries, and despite the fact that I would have been terrified, I remember having this idea that it would have been so cool(!) to just move my whole family to a graveyard and live surrounded by spirits and ghouls and whatever other sort of lovely non-living things one might find therein. Since that obviously never quite worked out for me as a child, it only makes sense that I would eventually pick up The Graveyard Book to live Even as a child, I’ve always been obsessed with ghosts and cemeteries, and despite the fact that I would have been terrified, I remember having this idea that it would have been so cool(!) to just move my whole family to a graveyard and live surrounded by spirits and ghouls and whatever other sort of lovely non-living things one might find therein. Since that obviously never quite worked out for me as a child, it only makes sense that I would eventually pick up The Graveyard Book to live vicariously through Nobody Owens. “You're always you, and that don't change, and you're always changing, and there's nothing you can do about it.” I’ve struggled with Gaiman’s work in the past, but this was my first time trying out his middle grade work or an audiobook format of one of his stories, and I’m not sure which of those details (or maybe both!) contributed to the outcome, but it was incredible. I absolutely could not get enough. I didn’t have any errands to run to justify car-listening like I usually do, so I literally talked myself into cleaning just so I had a good excuse to listen to this book. That never happens. “If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.” First, Neil Gaiman’s writing is absolutely stunning. I actually find The Graveyard Book a little hard to categorize strictly as middle grade, because I think readers of any and all age ranges could easily enjoy this book. It makes it even more interesting that we get to watch Bod grow up throughout the book, going from a toddler to a young man, with adventures occurring every so often throughout his childhood. We zoom in on these adventures, but Gaiman’s writing has a way of making it feel like you never missed a beat, despite there often being years spanning between chapters. “You're alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything.” Bod is a really enjoyable protagonist, but for me, the shining stars were the side characters—namely Silas, Bod’s mysterious, secretive mentor, but also Miss Lupescu and Liza Hempstock, both of whom I would have loved to see even more of. The only problem with the time jumps between chapters is that we rarely get to see the same character two chapters in a row, with the exception of Bod and Silas, but Miss Lupescu’s chapter was quite possibly my favorite in the entire book. “People want to forget the impossible. It makes their world safer.” Of course, Gaiman isn’t known for writing particularly happy books, and there are some surprisingly tragic themes to the story—from the very beginning, in which we hear that Bod’s entire family has been murdered, all the way to the painful but necessary ending that had me choking back tears of both sorrow and indignation (how dare you, Mr. Gaiman?!) That said, it’s the sort of sadness that won’t be too much for children, and I dare say, I think would hit an adult or teen reader much harder than it would a child in the “intended” readers’ age range. Despite those heavier moments, it’s also full of light and smiles (and thinly veiled sighs of relief as Bod is saved from yet another disaster he’s landed himself in). “The tongue is the most remarkable. For we use it both to taste out sweet wine and bitter poison, thus also do we utter words both sweet and sour with the same tongue.” The Graveyard Book was so lovable that it’s completely changed my mind on Gaiman as an author, and has convinced me that I absolutely must give his adult books another try, because I loved every moment of this spooky little read and could happily see myself picking it up again and again in the future.

  29. 5 out of 5

    PorshaJo

    Rating a 4.5 What is a Halloween read without a story by Neil Gaiman. I think I have made it known quite a few times of my love for Mr. Gaiman. This is a story I read a number of years ago, I believe when it first came out. Before I started writing reviews on GR. But I found the story so enchanting that I knew I would read it again some day. But this time, I *listened* to the audio read by Neil Gaiman himself. The story is of Nobody "Bod" Owens who grows up in a graveyard after his parents are Rating a 4.5 What is a Halloween read without a story by Neil Gaiman. I think I have made it known quite a few times of my love for Mr. Gaiman. This is a story I read a number of years ago, I believe when it first came out. Before I started writing reviews on GR. But I found the story so enchanting that I knew I would read it again some day. But this time, I *listened* to the audio read by Neil Gaiman himself. The story is of Nobody "Bod" Owens who grows up in a graveyard after his parents are murdered by a man named Jack. No spoiler there as this is the first thing that happens in the book. See, Jack meant to kill Bod too, but he escaped. Now, he lives in the graveyard and is raised by the inhabitants of said graveyard....yes, the ghosts. Such a unique, wonderful, magical story. It's not all that scary as it is for Young Adults. But it is quite imaginative. I love the inhabitants of the graveyard (Silas, his caretaker, the witch, the ghouls that show up and more) and those that visit - Scarlet was a precious little child. Truly a wonderful book as it won a Newbery Medal and a Hugo Award. Now, the absolute best....having this one narrated by Neil himself. He is a very talented man who CAN narrate his own work and bring it more to life that already done by the print. Obviously I'm a fan of the narration. I'm so glad I re-visited this one for Halloween and that I listened to the audio. A highlight for the month so far. One for fans of ghosts, fans of original, inventive stories...and one for all Neil Gaiman fans.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife. The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately." A chilling first line. And what follows is a thrilling, nerve-jangling episode from the master story teller Neil Gaiman. His imagination knows no bounds. I will not reveal the details, even though this is the very start of the book, and if you read the blurb it will tell "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife. The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately." A chilling first line. And what follows is a thrilling, nerve-jangling episode from the master story teller Neil Gaiman. His imagination knows no bounds. I will not reveal the details, even though this is the very start of the book, and if you read the blurb it will tell you. Suffice it to say, it is very gruesome, “The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet.” But don't be misled. Oddly, the beginning is deceptive, and this grisly opening is not in keeping with the rest of the book's light tone. The Graveyard Book is a quirky tale, simply told, and aimed towards the young. At the end of each chapter is an amusing and exaggerated line illustration, very much in keeping with the mood of the book, by the talented Chris Riddell. The novel won the Newbery medal in 2009. Critics have enthused about it, and the fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones called it, "The best book Neil Gaiman has ever written". Just eight chapters long The Graveyard Book is the tale of a journey; a sort of allegorical tale. In another way it can be seen as a bildungsroman, although not in any conventional sense. Neil Gaiman is nothing if not bizarre. The story tells of a baby, who lives and grow to maturity in a graveyard, watched over and cared for by "Others". Each chapter takes place after a two year gap. It feels very episodic, and is really a series of linked short stories, some of which are quite creepy and spooky, but each with a warm heart. There is a running theme, but it is not until nearing the end that it becomes clear. The chapters are really quite uneven and irregular in length. However, the narrative style is very engaging. Neil Gaiman's style is unique and instantly recognisable. One critic has referred to his "magical, haunting prose" in this novel. Take this, “The fallen autumn leaves were slick beneath Bod's feet, and the mists blurred the edges of the world. Nothing was as clean-cut as he had thought it, a few minutes before.” Or these, "Able to slip from shadow to shadow, never seen, never suspected. Free as air, fast as thought, cold as frost, hard as nails, dangerous as ..." “One grave in every graveyard belongs to the ghouls. Wander any graveyard long enough and you will find it - water stained and bulging, with cracked or broken stone, scraggly grass or rank weeds about it, and a feeling, when you reach it, of abandonment. It may be colder than the other gravestones, too, and the name on the stone is all too often impossible to read. If there is a statue on the grave it will be headless or so scabbed with fungus and lichens as to look like fungus itself. If one grave in a graveyard looks like a target for petty vandals, that is the ghoul-gate. If the grave wants to make you be somewhere else, that is the ghoul-gate.” "The hairs on the back of Bod's neck began to prickle. The voice in his head was something very old and very dry, like the scraping of a dead twig against the window of the chapel." The prose is hypnotic, drawing the reader in. We forgive the odd structure, the lack of direction. We want to read more, "Soon enough you will master Fading and Sliding and Dreamwalking." "The man looked well preserved, but still like something that had been dead for a long while." "Something huge touched him, brushed him from head to feet, and he shivered. His hair prickled, and his skin was all gooseflesh." There is both dark fantasy here, and also recognisable traditional motifs, "THE SLEER GUARDS THE TREASURES, THE BROOCH, THE GOBLET, THE KNIFE. WE GUARD THEM FOR THE MASTER" and very familiar scarey monsters of imagined worlds, from every culture, and from time immemorial. The Graveyard Book took its author over 20 years to write. Yet this in itself seems puzzling; it is such a slight, readable work. It has enchanting imagery - but no great depth, or profound message. Neil Gaiman has explained how this random collection of ideas formed. He watched his little boy, as a 2 year-old, riding his tricycle between some gravestones one summer, and his imagination stirred. The author then first wrote the story of "The Witch's Headstone" starting, "There was a witch buried at the edge of the graveyard ...". This forms chapter 4 of the final novel. Also everpresent in the back of Neil Gaiman's mind was one of his favourite books as a child, one which "excited and impressed" him so much that he read and reread it over and over again. It was Rudyard Kipling's two volumes of stories which make up "The Jungle Book". The Graveyard Book's theme reinterprets Rudyard Kipling's vision; it is a written homage to a master. Sometimes the references are overt, "It was a jungle here, of fallen headstones and headless statues, of trees and holly bushes, of slippery piles of half-rotted fallen leaves but it was a jungle that Bod had explored since he had been old enough to walk and to wander." As the years passed Neil Gaiman's imagination continued to conjure up the weird and the wonderful. He told half-formed parts of the story to his children, who pestered him to tell them what happened next. Neil Gaiman jotted down more ideas, in diverse places such as Florida, Cornwall and New Orleans. His friend Audrey Niffeneger showed him around "the ivy-covered marvel that is Highgate Cemetery West". (I can attest to this description. An image and memory of that particular wonderful cemetery was in my mind the entire time I read the book, although I had not known of the connection.) He admired a song called "Graveyard" by another friend, Tori Amos, "I said She's gone but I'm alive, I'm alive I'm coming in the graveyard to sing you to sleep now." Gradually the story began to take shape. It is a story of "Others", vampires and werewolves, guardians and ghouls. But none are depicted as you will have seen them before. There are elements of fantasy and humour; there are murders and menace, and there is desperate human longing. There are characters with peculiar names: Silas, Nobody Owens, Miss Lupescu, Mr Pennyworth, the "Jacks of All Trades" and the Sleer. There is folklore and rhyme. There is talk of, "the Macabray, the dance of the living and the dead, the dance with Death." “Rich man, poor man, come away. Come to dance the Macabray.” “Rattle his bones over the stones its only a pauper who nobody owns” and there is simple homespun philosophic wisdom, "People want to forget the impossible. It makes their world safer." "Fear is contagious. You can catch it. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to say that they're scared for the fear to become real." "You're always you and that don't change and you're always changing, and there's nothing you can do about it." "Wherever you go you take yourself with you." “It is neither fair nor unfair, Nobody Owens. It simply is.” The protagonist "Bod" learns encouragement. He learns about life, and he also learns about death, "It's always easier to die gently, to wake in due time in the place you were buried." “Death is the great democracy.” "The graveyard kept it secrets." And sometimes the author's hand just brushes across humour, “Name the different kinds of people,” said Miss Lupescu. “Now.” Bod thought for a moment. “The living,” he said. “Er. The dead.” He stopped. Then, “... Cats?” he offered, uncertainly.” So, what do we have here? A cosy chatty dark fantasy novel? A soft-centred story about ghouls? You got it! I'm not telling you the story. Go read the book. "You're alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you're dead, it's gone. Over. You've made what you've made, dreamed your dream, written your name ... But that potential is finished." “Do you know what you’re going to do now?” she asked. “See the world,” said Bod. “Get into trouble. Get out of trouble again. Visit jungles and volcanoes and deserts and islands. And people. I want to meet an awful lot of people.”

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