“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.”
I think that by now even new visitors to my blog can quickly see that I am a big Neil Gaiman fan and I mention him a lot. In between the rest of my book choices, I am trying to finish reading everything that he has written. I got this book from the library last month as my next step towards achieving complete Neil Gaiman mastery.
The Graveyard Book is marketed as a children’s book, though I really do think that readers of all ages would enjoy this story. Gaiman drew inspiration from The Jungle Book, but instead of being raised by wild animals, the main character in The Graveyard Book, Nobody “Bod” Owens, is raised by ghosts and is forbidden from leaving his graveyard “home” for his own safety. Each chapter represents a glimpse into Bod’s unique childhood and coming-of-age. Bod has special challenges in the graveyard, being alive while all of his friends and family are deceased, and has even more challenges as he decides to take on some more human experiences like attending a regular school. I really enjoyed the original story and approach. In my opinion, this is the literary equivalent of The Haunted Mansion ride at Walt Disney World – you want to hang out with the ghosts (except the bride room, that’s the only actually creepy part of that ride, but I digress).
I am giving The Graveyard Book 4.5 stars. Bod was an endearing, intelligent main character and I loved watching him grow up. The supporting characters also rounded out the story, especially Bod’s adoptive parents, Mr. & Mrs. Owens, who did everything they could to raise a human child in the best way possible given the parental values in play at the time they died. My reading experience itself was also enhanced by the illustrations, which were sparsely scattered throughout the book, but really lent a lot to the story every time they appeared. What keeps The Graveyard Book from being a perfect read for me was that I felt that the resolution and ending were a bit rushed, and that certain things could have been explained better, because I still had some unanswered questions at the end of the book. When I read children’s or even YA books these days I really like finding books that I want my future kids to read someday. This is definitely one of them.