Thursday, December 29, 2011
The Graveyard Book
After listening to Good Omens, I was eager to explore more of Neil Gaiman's works. The Graveyard Book was the first of his that was available for download at my public library, so immediately seized on the opportunity to read it.
I'm going to preface this by explaining a bit about my background. If you hadn't already realized by my posts about our Halloween traditions, spooky and sometimes even supernatural is a big hit in my family. My sister and I were raised on movies like Nightmare before Christmas, Beetlejuice, and James and the Giant Peach. The fact that it's almost Christmas when I'm writing this and there is still a Mummy in our kitchen is a bit telling. The point is, even though I'm a huge wimp when it comes to scary movies (or trailers, or even slightly creepy book covers), I still love supernatural and/or macabre fiction. That alone gave this book tons of props in my mind, even though it was clearly intended for a significantly younger audience than I am.
This book was an excellent demonstration of what I loved reading as a kid. Bod Owens was an orphan adopted by a ghost and grew up in a graveyard. The story is a coming of age rendition of the trials of his childhood. It had the supernatural element, as well as the loneliness I think all kids can relate to. Not to mention an overarching mystery and an interesting take on fairy tale elements. I thought it was an extremely well written book about the trials of growing up and feeling "different". My only problem was the age of the protagonist when he's "grown up"- I don't know about you, but I was most definitely not "grown up" at fifteen. If Bod had been seventeen when the story ended, I would have been a great deal happier, but again, this was geared towards younger kiddos, and to them fifteen may seem ridiculously old...
In any case, this was a great choice for any kid who loves the spooky and magical.