Book Review: The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book
By: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2008
Genre: Children’s Lit
Source: Purchased by Reviewer

“The boundaries are always there—between the graveyard and the world beyond, between life and death, and the crossing of them.” - Neil Gaiman

There were two things about this book that instantly drew me in – #1. I love Neil Gaiman’s work, #2. The title. Needless to say, I had high hopes for this one and it delivered. This book is one that cannot be confined to a certain age group, but can speak to people of all ages.

Nobody Owens, affectionately known as Bod by his friends, is raised in a graveyard. Yes, a graveyard. Shocking isn’t, it? Just how did young Bod come to live amongst the tombstones and the ivy? Well, the story is really quite simple. Bod’s parents and older sister were murdered in their home when he was a small infant. Being the adventurous type, young Bod had climbed from his crib and up to the old graveyard during the killings. The murder, intent on killing the baby next, is shocked to find nothing more than an empty crib. The ghosts in the cemetery on the hill take Bod under their wings and provide a home and protection for him as he grows.

Can you imagine living your entire childhood inside a crypt with parents who died centuries before? Can you imagine having a guardian who can leave the cemetery to fetch you food and other necessities? Bod, however, can never leave the graveyard or he may run into the man who killed his family. One can be sure that such a run in could be disastrous for the youngster since the man with the knife would surely finish what he had begun so long ago.

This book is full of a charming cast of characters. One meets ghosts, a witch, a hellhound, and even a vampire. The coming of age story of young Bod Owens is one that had me eagerly flipping each page as I devoured the story. I saw all the problems that young children have to face put into extraordinary circumstances. The plot, dialogue, and setting were amazing! I highly recommend this read. This would be a great book to read with your children as the Halloween season approaches.

Summary taken from The Graveyard Book’s website:

Hear this tragic tale: a sleeping family, a talented murderer, and an adventurous toddler—orphaned, but not assassinated. Small and alone, by accident and luck he escapes the scene of the crime and climbs a grassy hill to safety. At the top of the hill the boy finds a fence, and on the other side, a dark, quiet place.