To start, I have to say that even though I have been reviewing young adult books, I have only been reviewing them from an adult point of view. I enjoyed reading this book so much and feel that, like his other book that I recently read, CORALINE, this is also a metaphor for growing up. That said, I shall revert to my young adult point of view.
I don't know that I knew much about metaphors and the like when I was younger, but overlooking any of that this was an awesome book to read. I enjoyed the characters throughout the book, especially the people who took care of Bod on a daily basis, like Miss Lupescu and Liza. The ending was kind of sad for me, though I knew it had to happen that way for the story to come to an end.
The story itself was very descriptive and I felt as if I was growing up along with Bod. The only thing that I would have changed is that I wanted to know more about The Jacks and the prophecy that they spoke of. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK is filled with wondrous creatures and I liked the few pictures that there were - they were very well-drawn and I would have liked to have seen more of them.
Overall, I rate this a fantastic read and give it 5 Stars.
Reviewed by: Breia "The Brain" Brickey
on 7 November 2011
This book totally defeated my expectations. From the title alone I would not have been drawn to it; in fact I held off from reading it for several months after first hearing of it. I had a presupposition that "The Graveyard Book" would be bizarre and macabre. And yet I loved it; finding it not only as haunting as the title suggests, but also poignant, funny, quirky, moving. Gaimain peoples his novel with characters who are lifted (literally) from the headstones and inscriptions of Highgate Cemetery, and are then enabled to interact with Bod, the one living person amongst them, inhabiting "the borderlands" between the living and the dead. One of the highlights of this novel, for me, was the concept of "fading", when the main character Bod simply makes himself unobtrusive, and unobserved by other (living) people. This has many resonances for me - I can name Philip Pullman's use of the same idea in his character Serafina Pekkala in "His Dark Materials" trilogy, and also Harry Potter's use of the invisibility cloak. Another highlight for me was the theme of selective forgetting, which I found so poignant. "People want to forget the impossible. It makes their world safe."
on 18 March 2015
THE BOY WHO LIVED?
ok so theres this secret organisation of evil magicians and one October night one of them [the man Jack] creeps into a house and murders almost an entire family-except for a baby boy who survives. it later turns out theres a prophecy that this particular boy [Bod] must die or the secret brotherhood will face
disaster. So the boy grows into his teens in the company of ghosts, werewolves, vampires, ghouls, he learns a bit of magic, befriends a witch...........
Sounds familiar? I thought so at first, but Bod isn't Harry Potter, the man Jack isn't Voldemort and the witch isn't Hermione - there isn't really that much similarity with JK Rowlings work apart from the basic premise of an infant boy escaping death at the hands of a murderous assassin based on a prophecy. Some great creepy characters, his guardian Silas, never directly stated as being 'undead' but he has no reflection, his associate Miss Lupescu [sounds Romanian?] who introduces an unwilling Bod to borscht and other Eastern European delicacies - she assumes the shape of a huge grey wolf in her spare time. I'm a great fan of Neil Gaimans work and this is one of his best.
A children's book for adults is the best way I can describe the style. The language is simple yet filled with enough detail to create the world around you - a true talent. Small details and historical references are sown throughout it and the pace kept me reading oblivious of the passage of time.
The story follows a baby that makes his way to a graveyard as his family are being murdered. The ghosts of the graveyard take him in and look after him, with the mysterious character Silas as his guardian. The ghosts are wonderful characters, trapped in the time that they died and so trying to teach him according to several different ages. Silas explains that the dead have lived their lives and are now static, whereas Bod (short for 'Nobody') has enormous potential, so will one day have to leave and go into the world.
The story follows the danger he still faces as he attempts to join the 'real' world while not taking part in it and of the hunt that still seeks him out, having missed him as a toddler.
Believeable characters in an unbelieveable world. A wonderful read.
on 7 June 2009
The Graveyard Book Sorry about the poor pun: couldn't resist it. But seriously, this was another pen-fruit from Gaiman that I found un-put-downable. A great story once more - no namby-pamby, sweetness and light, saccharine-overdose offering this! But nonetheless a very endearing story. Read it. It is a keeper, and a valued addition to my bookcase.
on 14 July 2013
I enjoyed this book as did my kids. The subject material is suitable for 11+. Gaiman has a talent for this kind of work. I have enjoyed his other work such as American Gods and Neverwhere but The Graveyard book has been re-read several times. This is my second copy as I lent the first one out and it is now at the other end of the country.
This book is a terrific read for both young and old. The story is engaging and aptly dark as per the standard Gaiman novel but the concepts and ideas are suitable for the younger reader without being willowy or too protective. This is a book I am sure I will return to again and again when I feel like a little bit of easy reading fantasy.
on 29 September 2010
Original, entertaining and sweet, this is Gaiman in fine form. Not quite as good as Stardust, but pretty close.
Somebody sneaks into a house in the middle of the night, intending to murder the family that lives there. He is successful in killing three, but the fourth, a little baby boy, manages to escape. A series of coincidences leads him to an abandoned graveyard where he is adopted Mr and Mrs Owens, a childless married couple, who also happen to be ghosts. This little boy is Nobody Owens.
The tale of Bod's life in the graveyard is sometimes hilarious, sometimes very sad, sometimes full of suspense and action, but it is always clever, sharp and full of original observations. Gaiman's dry humour is perfect light relief in this gothic tale, and Bod's bitter-sweet story is natural and easy to believe. A perfect little tale for young adults of all ages.
The funny and beautiful illustrations by Chris Riddell are an extra bonus that really brought the story to life.
on 11 September 2015
I wouldn't agree with Diana Wynne Jones, who is quoted upon the book's cover as saying this is "the best book Neil Gaiman has ever written". For me that would be a pretty tall order - Stardust, Anansi Boys, and American Gods are highly ranked on my personal list of Gaiman preferences.
However, this is a clever story that captures a highly unique topic; but in such an understated way as to make it seem almost commonplace. Gaiman is at his best when dealing with the supernatural, and this book straddles the line between the living and the dead - as the lead character himself is a living, breathing boy that is raised by ghosts in a graveyard.
For me, it is always difficult to determine a targeted age for these books. Featuring a murderous man with a sharp knife, it is assuredly not for the young reader, but teens and adults alike could enjoy this triumphant story of good vs. evil, and the natural order of all things, everywhere.
on 6 April 2010
I'm somewhat ashamed to say that this is my first book from Mr Gaiman.
Judging from this, I've got a lot of catching up to do, because The Graveyard Book is a masterful work of darkness and flights of fancy.
There's a lot of lore about graveyards, and Gaiman taps into this superbly, using the lore as a foundation to build his own interpretation upon. The graveyard of the title becomes, in effect, a world within a world thanks to Gaiman's descriptions and characters.
At it's heart, though, The Graveyard Book is a coming of age story as Nobody "Bod" Owens escapes a murderer by fleeing to the graveyard (well, waddling, really, but give him a break, he's only a toddler!) and living there for his formative years. Filled with mystical and dangerous things like ghoulgates and the Sleer, the faithful servant who waits for his master, this is an enchanting tale of magnificent proportions, and worthy of a place on any bookshelf.