The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I sat down on the swing outside this afternoon to read the last 157 pages of The Graveyard Book and for the first time this Fall a cool breeze blew past and the leaves fell from the trees like snow. A couple of hours later, my eyes were watering not from seasonal allergies but because The Graveyard Book had ended. It was a journey that I won’t soon forget and that I won’t go long without reading again, I’m sure.

As anyone who frequents here knows, I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman’s work. That may be an understatement, just maybe. I wait in anticipation of any new project on the horizon. In fact, I’m already awaiting the release of his travel book which I don’t even know if he’s started writing yet. There’s always a little trepidation going into novels by authors that you love. Will it be as good as what you have built up in your head? In the case of The Graveyard Book, it surpassed my expectations which is rare indeed and you always know you hold something special in your hands when that happens.

The Graveyard Book is a story for all ages. It’s about the innocence of childhood, the wonders and thrills and mysteriousness of childhood, the pains of growing older and the joys of growing older, those subtle experiences that Neil Gaiman always captures so well. It’s also about murder and magic and darkness and light. And it’s all balanced perfectly in a story that is at times terrifying and at times completely heartwarming and melancholy.

The story itself revolves around a boy named Nobody Owens, Bod for short that is taken in by the ghosts of a graveyard after he escapes being murdered. There he has a guardian named Silas and a family that takes him as their own. We follow Bod as he grows older and experience his childhood with him and his transition forward. Though his life is filled with that which we may never experience, it is still a life that speaks to every reader. In true Gaiman form, the essence of a boy is captured perfectly and the reader is whisked away to days that are sometimes forgotten.

Dave McKean’s illustrations are some of my favorite to date by him. Not that they are the best work I have ever seen him produce (though they are amazing and I don’t mean to take away from how incredible they are), but they brought to life characters that I know I will love and cherish for a long time. I only wish there were more, which there are I believe in the Subterranean Press edition which I sadly did not purchase.

I believe that Neil Gaiman gives us a little piece of himself with each book that he writes. His passion is obvious in each and every word that he writes, in the structure of his sentences, and in the amazing characters that I sometimes tend to forget are fictional. Are they still fictional when they’ve been made so real and have made such strong impressions on people? Perhaps that’s a theme of this book in a way. My hats off to Mr. Gaiman for another wonderful book that will hold a proud place on my shelves.

To anyone interested in reading this one, don’t forget that this is listed in my BAFAB week giveaway which ends on October 7th.  You can pick any one of my top 13 books published in 2008 including this one if you’re the winner. And you also get a Domo!

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24 Responses

  1. Ah this book sounds really really good! I can’t wait until I have a chance to read it!

  2. I’ve been waiting for your review, I knew you would get sucked in like I did. I like your idea of Neil putting a little piece of himself in every book. I can certainly see that.

    Dave McKean’s illustrations are indeed not comparable to much of his other work but at the same time they are perfect for this story. They really reflected the mood of the work and I’m glad there were so many of them.

    This is one of those books whose review could go on and on and on because it has so much to like. I repeatedly smiled at the remembrance lines on people’s grave stones…I cannot wait to hear them read by Gaiman.

    Glad you enjoyed it so much as well Chris, I’ll be linking to your review in mine.

  3. I forgot to mention that I am glad I am not the only one who got all misty eyed when the story ended.

  4. just like at Carl’s blog.. no big surprises here! But then you two are a fan club on to itself for Gaiman lol

    After a long wait for books like this it’s such a relief when there’s no disappointment!!

    eeegads, your next book is titled “Veins?”… the title alone grosses me out lol lol

  5. I am so looking foward to reading this book! Your review makes me want to read it even more.!

    Peace,
    Clueuin

  6. You all keep making me even more excited about this book than I was to begin with, and I really didn’t think that was possible!

    I’m so glad you loved it so much 🙂

  7. I just picked this one up on Wednesday. I’ve only had time to read a bit of it, but I really like it. I’m happy to hear it’s good to the end.

    Paul

  8. Somehow, it doesn’t surprise me at all that you loved this book!!

    I want to read it SO BAD! Unfortunately, I may have to wait till my library gets it. Ever dollar I’m saving right now has to go for Christmas this year. Man. It sucks being so broke!!

  9. As you know, I lurve Neil Gaiman! This will go on my TBR list, fer sure.

    And it made you (almost) cry too!

  10. “A couple of hours later, my eyes were watering not from seasonal allergies but because The Graveyard Book had ended.”

    I love that. 🙂

    Isn’t the cool air wonderful? I could do without the allergies that go with it.

  11. That’s so funny! That’s exactly what happened to me! It’s cool in BR for the first time in months, and on Tuesday I read The Graveyard Book straight through on my side lawn. It was wonderful!

  12. Argh! I really want to read it, but its not out in the UK for another 2 weeks!!

  13. Argh! I really want to read this, but its not out in the UK for another two weeks!

  14. ooh that was weird..

  15. I had to skim over your review when you first posted because I wanted to wait till I finished it. I’m glad you loved it as much as I did!

  16. […] | Carl V. | Stuff as Dreams | Stacey | Jessica | Nymeth […]

  17. […] little hands on it until Haloween. And of course we in the UK have had to put up with certain elements in book blogosphere have been flaunting the fact they had an earlier release […]

  18. Yaay, as you know I finally read it yesterday, so now i could come and enjoy your post about it, finally!!! And, Chris, well, you write an amazing post too about the book. I like how you say ‘it’s about murder and magic and darkness and light’, which it is. Oh, I wish everyone could get a copy and enjoy this book!!

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