Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book

As promised, here is a book review long in the waiting. I wanted to write this up for Halloween because it would have been à propos. I also wanted to do a series of Halloween-related books in October, one for each week, but it turns out a CELTA takes up your entire life. Better late than never?

I’ve read this book twice now. The first time I read it I set the book down after the first four pages in order to digest how wonderful it is. Then I devoured it in a few hours. The second time wasn’t much different. I don’t know what it is about Neil Gaiman that I love so much, or why his books make me want to cry (from jealousy), but I do. Unfortunately for you all, that means this review isn’t going to be much more than sheer praise for The Graveyard Book.

The Graveyard Book is a MG novel that delights readers, especially me, with ghosts and graveyards and mystery and suspense and…you get the picture. It follows our hero, Nobody Owens, from his infant years to his teenage years. While for an unskilled writer that could be too much information and story to get across, Gaiman manages to do so without info dumping or creating a whopper of a book. It’s masterly crafted so all the little clues and plot points come together in the end, and the reader can sit back and sigh, “Ah…it all makes sense.” To me, The Graveyard Book is a coming-of-age story about a boy who grows up in an unconventional family and household, but that doesn’t stop him from longing for and pursuing basic human desires friendship and knowledge. Perhaps we all long for these to differing agrees, but we all still do want them. Nobody Owens isn’t any different even if his parents aren’t normal.

When all I can complain about is that I want it to go on forever, then I can’t really complain. So read it for the masterful language that incorporates all of Gaiman’s work if you’re an adult, and for the spell-binding story if you’re a child. Or both if you’re like me.

If parents are looking for an enriching book for their child to read, then The Graveyard Book should be on the top of the list. With a character who questions everything and desires to learn (there should be more of this in the world!), and rich, well-written prose, this book will surely open both children and adults up to a world of imagination. 10/10*

*See explanation of rating system

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