2008: 155. The Graveyard Book

“There was a hand in the darkness and it held a knife.”

The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman

Another book that is technically a young adult novel, but that works just as well for adults (though it’s short - for an adult it would be a novella). It is Gaiman’s homage to The Jungle Book, the story of a young man named Bod (or more formally, Nobody Owens), who is raised by the denizens of a graveyard after his parents and sister are murdered.  Which is to say, he is a living boy raised by ghosts, with a vampire as a guardian.  The premise is pretty grim for a children’s book, but the inhabitants of the graveyard are actually quite charming (I loved Bod’s multi-century manners and the way that each character is introduced with his epitaph) - it’s the living that Bod ultimately has to fear - when (after a series of what seem like unrelated episodes that come together to a plot) the man who killed his family comes back looking for him.  

It’s a dark story but a moving and touching one.  This is a touching and entertaining story despite the whole cemetery aspect, and Bod is an enterprising and endearing hero.  Like so much else of what Gaiman writes it is both creative and unusual, a little bit gothic, and wonderful.


Date/Place Completed: 10/7/08; D.C.

Categories: Fiction, Newberry Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017