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The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
            After Bod’s family was brutally murdered the kindly Owens family adopted him. They couldn’t be more perfect foster parents…except that they have been dead for nearly two hundred and fifty years. Bod (short for “Nobody” since the Owenses have no idea what his parents named him) is given Freedom of the Graveyard, which allows him to stay and be raised amongst tombstones and the departed. As he grows older, the ghosts begin teaching him history and the customs from their own eras, as well as the skills of the dead, such as Dreamwalking, Fading and Fear. His guardian, Silas, brings him food and clothing, so that Bod will never need to leave the safety of the cemetery. But the more he learns about the world beyond the graveyard, the more curious he becomes. Bod wants to go to school and be amongst other living people, but as long as his family’s killer is still lurking Outside it isn’t safe for him to leave.
            The day a child realizes the nature of death and its implications changes them forever. A little piece of innocence is lost and gone, and a little shadow is cast as he realizes that someday he, too, will cease to be. But Bod is the opposite; all his life he has known death and the afterlife so for him, there is no mystery. Strike that. For Bod, the mystery is LIFE. Life holds to him the same wonder and confusion that death has for the rest of us, and seeing his struggle from the ‘other side of the veil’ so to speak makes this a wonderful and fascinating book.
            At times the book is scary, especially when one considers it’s written for children. There’s a triple-murder on the second page. Bod lives under the shadowy threat that someone, somewhere wants to kill him. Ghouls, vampires and werewolves all have their roles to play. And, well, death can be scary! But the graveyard is such a charming little world, populated with folk from a variety of backgrounds and times. It’s sweet, with tender moments such as when Bod braves the Outside world because he wants to buy a headstone for an unhappy ghost’s unmarked grave.  There is an aura of melancholy throughout the book, but it’s never depressing.
            If you’re a Neil Gaiman fan, you will enjoy this book.  I think it is one of his best.  Kids will like the adventures that Bod has and identify with his fears and childhood troubles.  But I do think that almost everyone would enjoy this book.  


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 6th, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC)
I'm torn between which cover I want. Which means I really want both, but can't justify the cost right now.
Sep. 6th, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
Was there an excerpt from this in Fragile Things? I know I've read a bit of it before, but I'd borrowed that book from the library so I can't check to see if that's where it was.

I can't wait to pick this one up though. I'll be picking up a copy (and hopefully getting it signed!) when I fly up to DC for the National Book Festival. :D
Sep. 6th, 2008 09:20 pm (UTC)
I know there was mention of this book in Fragile Things but I don't know if it was an excerpt or just a "Oh and I'm working on something called The Graveyard Book."
Sep. 6th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)
I finally figured it out where I'd read the part that seemed familiar - "The Witch's Headstone" was one of the short stories in M is for Magic.
Sep. 6th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
The mystery is solved!

PS - I'm SO VERY JEALOUS that you're going to the National Book Festival. It sounds so cool!!
Sep. 6th, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
The mystery would've gnawed at my brain until I'd figured it out. ;)

I've never been before, but it does sound like a lot of fun! (The trip is a present to myself, since it's the weekend of my birthday.) I'm going to be taking lots of photos, that's for sure. And also trying to not act like an idiot when I do get to see Neil in person. XD
Sep. 6th, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
I've been reading about this for months on his blog. I can't wait to read it!
Sep. 6th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
graveyard book
this is the one i waaaant :)
lucky all those you who have read/are reading :(

but dave mckean really does do it every time.

Sep. 6th, 2008 11:04 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm so excited! I've marked the release date on my calender, because I Am Nerdy Like That.
Sep. 7th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
I marked the release date on my calendar too, so at least if that is nerdy, you're not alone. :)
Sep. 6th, 2008 11:28 pm (UTC)
I'm sad, since I started school I've hardly had any time for my own reading:(
Sep. 7th, 2008 01:48 am (UTC)
Good Review! I still, sadly, haven't read any of Neil Gaiman's work, but this looks really good. I also like how despite the fact that it's a kids book, it's still scary. Sounds like a good read to me.

~ Popin
Sep. 7th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
I Cannot Wait to read this! *very excited*
Sep. 7th, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
Won't read your review yet because I don't want the tiniest spoiler before I can read it myself. I can't wait, still some time until it's officially released though, isn't it?
Sep. 7th, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
i have been waiting impatiently for this since i watched him read 'witch's gravestone' on a you tube clips ages ago. i am really excited to get my hands on this and i am even more excited that i have a book to be excited about. haha.

another great review. i rarely read any other reviews [for anything! books, movies...] but i am very fond of what you do.
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:36 am (UTC)
don't be offended but other than looking at the two covers and wanting them both, I closed my eyes to this review. I want absolutely no more insights into the book than I had received up til now from things Neil Gaiman has blogged about it. Though I bet you did do a wonderful job of it.
Sep. 8th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
Ha ha no problem! I figured about half the readers who keep asking about the review would read it, and the other half would completely ignore it for another month until the book launches September 30th! :-p
Sep. 10th, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
I am sooo excited for this book. I've marked up my calender for the reading event @ NYC! Your review really bought insight into the book, as I was always wondering how the story is going to progress. I liked the theme of life as opposed to death in terms of fear. That's really intriguing! :D

Thanks for sharing, ever since school started I hadn't had time for reading but gosh, I'm totaling reading this book the first day it comes out! (Or so I think before I fall under a pile of textbooks and World Humanities Literature).
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)
Trust me, this book is far more important than World Humanities :-p But out of curiosity, what do you have to read for that class?
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
Haha I knew you would ask that.

We're reading The Odyssey currently but the rest of the selection is Oedipus, Hamlet, Inferno, Mrs. Dalloway, Don Quixote (some selections), Pedro Paramo and Giovanni's Room. I'm really liking The Odyssey so far but I'm such a slow reader, I'm a little behind the class >.<

Have you taken any english classes in college? If so, what courses would you recommend?
Sep. 20th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
I've never actually read Dante's Inferno and I feel like I'm missing something terribly important. I should go see if I can find my copy; I know someone in my family must own it.
This quarter I'm taking an Asian American Lit class. I'm terribly excited about it, but I don't know what I'll be reading yet, as class doesn't start 'til Monday. The best English class I ever took, tho', was a basic English 2 that used graphic novel for the texts. We used books like Maus, Perseoplis and comic book verions of short stories by Ray Bradbury and Edgar Allen Poe. It was a seriously fascinating (and fun! that teacher was the best I've ever had, I think) quarter.
Sep. 21st, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
You know there was a reason I didn't take AP English in High School, it was because I knew that was going to take Asian Literature. But after the tryouts for the AP Exam which I didn't do and near the end of the school year, they told us there wouldn't be Asian Literature next year. I was almost about to sob excessively :,( It's so not fair! You're so lucky to be tasking Asian Literature, Let me know your book list :D

English 2 as a graphic novel class is awesome! I was at my college bookstore to get textbooks and I accidentally(yeah right :D) hovered over the English section to see what kind of books they were reading and I saw graphic novels and I got excited xD They were also reading Maus, Persepolis, American Splendor, etc... I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that that class counts for Engineering liberal arts credit. I really should do an English minor but I hate writing essays (although I love creative writing) and engineering is hard as it is :(
Sep. 26th, 2008 12:45 am (UTC)
I'm rather disappointed in my Asian Lit class because there's no book list! There is one book - Dream Jungle by Jessica Hagedorn but I was hoping for much more than that. The teacher is a very sweet man but it's his first semester teaching and he doesn't have a strong grasp of the student dynamic yet. I feel bad for him, and it's hard to take a class from someone you pity. Hopefully he'll get his act together soon.
Sep. 19th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
I've been looking forward to reading this book, but I think I'm going to try to wait until winter when there aren't so many other things to do.

ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca
Oct. 30th, 2008 07:45 pm (UTC)
The only book by Neil Gaiman that I have read is Stardust and I have looked at this book in stores speculatively. I think now I will pick it up. And I followed the link to the special editions and I want them! But not the $250 one the $900 one. Seems like I have expensive tates-I just wish I had the unlimited funds to back my unlimited desires.

But I will read this book. Have you read Stardust?
Oct. 30th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
I did read Stardust about a year ago. I liked it. I don't know that I will ever need to re-read it, but it was fun. I really want to see the movie they made of it!
Oct. 30th, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC)
And I forgot to say in your previous post, thank you for liking my user pic! It's a pic of me and a friend on Lj was kind enough to make it into an icon!

You have to watch Stardust! I actually saw the movie first and then read the book and I think because of that I actually enjoyed the movie more! But the movie is so much fun and really entertaining!
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )


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