Publishing Info: September 30, 2008 by HarperCollins
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 10, 2013
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When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod's life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?
When I asked for recommendations for audiobooks — especially one more geared toward Halloween & Spooky themes — naturally Alyssa was more than happy to suggest Neil Gaiman to me, specifically steering me towards THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous because it was my first Neil Gaiman book EVER, which is kind of a big deal. I clearly had nothing to worry about because 1) Alyssa is a Super Librarian and is excellent at recommending books to people. 2) She already knows my reading taste and what I would like, and 3) I’m sure Neil Gaiman fans would agree with the simple statement that… It’s Neil Gaiman.
The thing I loved the most about THE GRAVEYARD BOOK was how delightful the macabre was. For Bod, the graveyard is his home. The dead are his friends and family and being dead is commonplace and everyday. His normal lessons include learning about creatures like ghouls and night gaunts as well as learning how to “fade”. Bod has the freedom of the graveyard which means he can travel wherever he’d like within in the confines of the graveyard. It was all perfectly normal to Bod and felt nice and comfortable to cozy up to a graveyard! I really loved seeing everything through Bod’s point of view and how really honestly delightful ghosts and spirits can be! (Since, you know… I’m a big old scaredy cat.)
I absolutely loved the different sides of the graveyard we get to see as well — It’s not just ghosts and spirits who surround Bod, but Silas who is quite the mystery and sort of falls into a category all on his own, ghouls, night gaunts, witches — and the danger of the living as well. Bod is in the graveyard for his own protection against one specific living person… The Man Jack. He’s also quite the interesting character and there is something so intriguingly dangerous and horrific about him that I was instantly drawn in to how he propelled Bod’s story and how their paths would ultimately have to cross again at some point in the future!
One thing I appreciated the most, I think, was how much of the book focused on Bod’s relationships. He finds a home with his new parents, Mr. & Mrs. Owens and with his guardian Silas. He learns how to make friends in two different ways with Scarlet and with Liza. He learns how to interact with people — even though most of them are not even living — and I really feel like his relationships pull him through the tough spots and he learns to rely on the people who care about him.
I know this was technically probably a children’s or MG novel, but it was so lovely and really all ages can easily enjoy it! I’d love to hear from people who have already read THE GRAVEYARD BOOK! It felt delightfully magical and just really, really special to me. It was about a boy who grew up in a graveyard so you expect it to be creepy, but it actually really warmed my heart. (And it was appropriately dark at times too!)
I get it, guys! HIIIII. This was my first Neil Gaiman book EVER and naturally, I had to listen to the audio because I’ve heard how spectacular Neil is with narration and I really think it’s something extra special to listen to an author narrate their own books. I feel like it’s a much more personal experience because you get to hear exactly how they intended voices, pauses, tones, etc and it’s not left up to narrator to interpret, however fantastic they may be. I LOVED Neil Gaiman’s narration. Every word felt… gentle. Carefully calculated and spoken but so comforting and peaceful. It just felt really, really special to listen to and I was almost sad once it was over because I really could listen to him speak all day! He has such a wonderful voice and puts on such a lovely performance of his book. If you haven’t listened to one of his audiobooks, narrated by Neil himself, I HIGHLY suggest it!
Nobody Owens // Character Obsessions: Freedom of the graveyard, making friends, learning lessons. Bod was simply adorable. We get to see him grow up from a baby — and I felt all the warm fuzzies as the “residents” of the graveyard decide to take him in and protect him — to a young boy to a teenager. I really liked that the book spanned over so much of Bod’s young life because we get to experience his lessons as he learns them and we really get to see his character grow and mature, leading us up to a perfectly bittersweet ending when he matures into a young man and has to question his place in the graveyard.
Silas // Character Obsessions: Missions, guarding Bod, overseeing the graveyard. Silas was… mysterious. And I LOVED IT. He was neither here, nor there. He was maybe human? Not a spirit. He didn’t belong with the living and he didn’t belong with the dead. He was important. And he was very, very respectable. He was definitely one of my favorite characters and incredibly interesting. I could read a whole book about Silas himself.
The Man Jack // Character Obsessions: Assignments, finding Bod. The Man Jack. WOW. He was so interesting and just a little bit bone-chilling. The story actually kicks off with him as he… well, no light way to say this — murders Bod’s family. Bod was supposed to be taken too, but he miraculously evades The Man Jack. It then becomes his mission for the rest of the book to ultimately make right what he messed up when Bod made it away. The BEST is how everything comes back together in the end of the book. He is absent for a while but you know he’ll be coming back into play (not really a spoiler… I mean, that’s the whole reason why Bod’s in the graveyard and can’t leave, ya know) so really the best was just how the whole end of the book came together. What it meant for Bod, what it meant for The Man Jack, and how it all went down. PERFECT narration from Neil Gaiman there. OOH. I got chills with his narration of Jack.
Kept Me Hooked On: Macabre. This was a bit of a macabre and things that are normally dark & scary (graveyards, ghosts) and made to feel comforting, happy, and normal. I just loved the FEEL of this book.
Left Me Wanting More: Neil Gaiman! I can’t wait to read more Neil Gaiman and hopefully LISTEN to more audio because it was really so spectacular!
BUY THE AUDIO!
Read the book, because it really is so wonderful, but if you can, get the audio! It really was fantastic and I LOVED my drives, excited to turn it on again. I absolutely, positively cannot say enough about it and really loved it.
(Click the cover to see my review!)