Sunday, March 8, 2009

"The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman

Summary: A baby stumbles into a graveyard after his parents and older sister are murdered. Reluctantly, the ghosts in the graveyard decide to raise the boy and protect him from his family's murderer. Nobody Owens (Bod, for short), as he is named, grows up in the graveyard, sharing the life both of the living and the dead as his guardians work to protect him.

Musings: I was interested in Gaiman's writings after seeing the movie Coraline, based on one of his earlier novels. The book is categorized as juvenile fiction, which only shows me how much children's books have developed since I was a kid. I don't know that any books I read as a child began with a grisly triple-homicide, but Gaiman writes a book that is spooky, mysterious, and heartfelt.

Gaiman has fully developed the world of the graveyard in which Bod is raised. Bod feels like a real character who has grown up unsure of himself and his place in the world. Although he has some of the same "powers" as the dead, he is unmistakeably alive, and finds himself wishing for things the living possess.

The story keeps several mysteries running through, including why Bod's family was killed and the identity of Bod's guardian, Silas. Not all loose ends were fully tied up for me, though, and the explanation of the characters' identities wasn't fully satisfying.

Nonetheless, it was a fun book to read and had a completely unique storyline.

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