Book Review – The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
Book: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Year of Release: 2008
Read 312-page paperback edition in November 2021.
Nobody Owens is a boy who has had some extreme circumstances surrounding his life. His parents and sister were murdered in their sleep, and somehow he found a way to escape as a young toddler and escape to a nearby graveyard, where he has been kept safe ever since. He is protected by an interesting assortment of ghosts, as well as a mysterious guardian.
But “Bod” also wants to explore outside the graveyard too, despite the dangers. He wonders what happened to his family, and also wants to see other “living” people. He and his protectors navigate the dangers together, as the killer who murdered the rest of his family wants to finish the job.
This was an imaginative and fantastic novel by famed author Neil Gaiman. As with all of his other work, Gaiman has successfully created a memorable cast of characters, a breathtaking setting, and a page-turning plot.
The characters are enjoyable to read about, in particular the main character Bod. He sometimes makes mistakes or poor judgments, but his imperfections as he grows up are natural and believable, making for a realistic story. Secondary characters, including the plethora of ghosts in the graveyard and the guardian Silas, have a mixture of humourous and mysterious character traits, which creates a variety of atmospheres in Bod’s home in the graveyard. Other “living” characters also add intrigue, drama, and suspense to the plot, providing an overall great novel.
Gaiman always does a great job creating a rich setting with colourful descriptions, and this is no different. He captures beauty, mystery, and an ethereal feeling to this book. A range of emotions from happy to sad to melancholy are richly explored.
The one drawback to the novel was that at times it felt like some of the chapters felt a little disjointed from each other. There were a few chapters in the novel that felt like disconnected short stories, while most of the other chapters really weaved together clearly. This made the book feel like novel with a few short stories woven in, almost as if the book didn’t know what structure it wanted to take.
This is a very minor point though. Overall, this is a fantastic book for young readers and adults alike.
Overall: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars