Blurb: Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts.
There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard. But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod’s family.
Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
Genre: YA, Ghost Story, Horror, Fantasy
This book follows the life of young Bod, the only living person in the graveyard, as he is cared for by the ghosts who found him after his family is murdered. Bod learns the tricks of surviving as a ghost when there’s a strange man out to finish the job he started years before.
Sounds a bit much to start off a bit of YA but it isn’t as gory as it sounds. This was my first venture into anything written by Neil Gaiman and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. The thing that I loved the most about this book was Gaiman’s world building when it came to describing the graveyard and its inhabitants. I really looked forward to being introduced to new ghosts as we are always given their headstone inscription. I thought this was a wonderful touch to making them seem more human and offering a brief insight into each of the characters, no matter how minor to the plot.
Continuing with the graveyard, I loved the idea that everyone interacted with each other and it was more of a cheerful community than we often think of. (Sidenote: this was the first book I read after losing my dad and it definitely brought me some peace). I also adored the characterisation of the ghosts who were all so quirky and well written – particular favourites of mine were Liza Hempstock (her general to and fro with Bod always made me smile), Mother Slaughter (such a good name!) and Nehemiah Trot, the poet (I feel like we all know someone who likes the sound of their own voice 😂).
The main character, Bod, was also well written. My heart ached for him as a baby, losing his family and for the image of the little boy dressed in a sack with no living soul to look out for him. But he also made me smile with his quick thinking and determination to survive. A graveyard must be a terribly strange place to grow up in but Bod made it seem quite fun!
As for what I disliked about this book, I guess (as always with me) I just wanted more information on the Jacks of All Trades, also on the Sleer. While I can appreciate that both of these things were left slightly ambiguous to allow your mind to roam wild, part of me likes to have my suspicions confirmed or refuted. This didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the book in any real way, just would have been a nice added extra.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and was definitely not disappointed by the world of Neil Gaiman’s writing. In fact, I’ve since picked up Coraline and am currently debating reading Good Omens! I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes their YA with a dark but also warm-and-fuzzy edge, as it truly combines the best of both worlds.
Have you read this book? Have you read anything else by this author? What did you think?