The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

5499874Nobody 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.

First of all, my many million thanks to Anne @ Inked Brownies for the giveaway. I’m telling ya… If I was as lucky winning the lotto as I am at winning books I would be a rich puppy!

The Graveyard Book was my first Gaiman book. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I adore the cover and the illustrations in the book. Chris Riddell has mega talent, love it!

What’s the book about?Β One night the man Jack, a killer, enters a family house and does away with a father, a mother and their daughter. The youngest of the family, a little baby boy hears the commotion, recognises it as an opportunity to break out of his cot and crawls out of the house, up the hill, towards the old graveyard. He slips through the graveyard gates and meets Mr and Mrs Owens. They are ghosts who live in the graveyard. Mrs Owens gets asked by the boy’s mother, who’s now also a ghost, that they protect him. And so the boy will stay in the graveyard, he will be named Nobody Owens, or Bod for short. Bod is given the Freedom of the Graveyard which allows him to see all the inhabitants of the place and Silas, his appointed guardian who is not dead nor alive, will make sure Bod will get food and education.

The man Jack, however, always finishes what he started so the boy remains in danger. And really, there’s more to the story than the man Jack just being a psychopath! There’s so much more.

My thoughts:Β Some might think a graveyard really isn’t the best place to choose for a setting. That nothing happens there other than silence, peace, some candles and flowers and sadness. I didn’t know what to expect from this book. But I was hoping for that certain feeling and the book delivered. When I was younger, and still lived in Estonia, I used to always walk to the graveyard whenever I felt like I needed to get away from everyone. The feeling of slight anxiety, the feeling of, yes, sadness, but the peace and silence is striking and for some reason my outlook on life always changed after a graveyard visit. Maybe it was simply all the fresh air. Our graveyards are truly quite wooded areas with lots of trees.

As for the story, I am glad Gaiman used some of the endless possibilities and different characters a graveyard can offer. The graveyard itself is an old one and so in this book there are a lot of ghosts from 19th and early 20th century with the manners and mannerisms from history, each ghost with their own story and place in Bod’s life. A small detail in the book, but which truly still stands out for me, was the mention of headstone messages. I don’t know why it lodged so firmly into my head, but I thought that was a really fitting touch to the story.

I doubt anybody could really fault the writing in this book. It’s just quality as one would expect. And to sensitive readers out there- it’s not a spooky story at all. It’s more of a quirky one where boy ends up in a strange setting, a coming-of-age story really. Bod learns a lot from the ghosts- not only about past, but about what it means to be human. It’s about making mistakes, going through childhood rebellion, realizing who you’re friends are and doing something good for others. All of this with a touch of paranormal. The twist at the end of the story was great. I didn’t see that coming and the ending lifted my spirits. The ending has a good message!

Funnily enough throughout reading this book I did have a feeling like it felt familiar. The young boy in an ‘abnormal’ setting and when I reached the acknowledgement piece at the end of the book Gaiman mentioned The Jungle Book. I used to love reading about Mowgli as a child and perhaps that is the reason I felt like this was connecting with my inner child so well.

Overall a quick, comfortable read for young and old ones alike. Β 5 stars.

44 comments

  1. YOU MAKE ME WANT TO READ IT NOW!! But it’s at my country home 😦 I’ll get it back soon so I’ll read it in February. I’m so happy you enjoyed it. It’s gonna be my first Gaiman too, and I was a bit worried about finally reading the monster, haha. I love everything that you said about it so I now feel better about starting the story. I live across a graveyard and I love walking around there. Like you said, it offers so many possibilities and I am glad the author took advantage of it. Awesome review dear!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you… yes, it was qite the change for me, to read something that is a bit unusual and slightly creepy but not toeing the extreme… cute story, I dont know why I don’t read more middle grade stuff cause that was good πŸ™‚ I hope you enjoy it as well πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I still need this book! I am so glad you have read Gaiman. I adore him and his work so much. He is one of those talented writers who can own anything. I am holding out to actually pick up a physical copy of this. I feel like anything less is a waste with the illustrations probably, and you seem to confirm that!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep, defo a paper copy… πŸ™‚
      I’ve never had a book in my life that some people refer to as – ‘my go to book when I’m feeling x-y-z’… and I hardly reread books because the surprise element is gone.. However, I think this book I wouldn’t mind rereading. It just has that great feeling about it πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I have only read one Gaiman book before and felt the ending really fizzled out. So I am glad to see you think the ending in this one of his books is great. I want to give his books another try, so I think I will have to choose this one when I get around to it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m SO glad (and relieved :’) ) that you liked it so much! I guess it can be a hit or miss because of its quirkiness, but somehow it all just makes sense! And it’s so funny and great to see all the people here (including you of course) who seem to go to the graveyard to get some relaxation :D. I have the exact same thing; I just love walking around on them! I guess one reason is because you’ll pretty much have the guaranty that there won’t be a shitload of other people there. Plus, the people who ARE there usually shut the fuck up, so no random banter is necessary <3. Peaceful greenery with old stones, what's not to love about it?? πŸ˜‰

    Quality review and loved the personal graveyard touch to it xD. I can highly recommend trying out some more of Gaiman's quirky work. Neverwhere is more mature but has got to be one of the most unusual settings I’ve ever read about! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • πŸ™‚
      yep, references the Jungle Book thing in the review as well… The Graveyard book felt familiar and when I read Gaiman’s acknowledgements at the end of the book he confirmed my feelings so… yeah, good book for sure πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is high on my list of Newbery Award winners to read! I am happy you mentioned The Jungle Book connection. It will be fun having that notion while reading the book. I have three, maybe four, Gaiman books. I was going to listen to the audio of Neverwhere, but I just might wait and read this first. It sounds like a good place to start. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you will really enjoy this book πŸ™‚ It’s a quick read as well, and then setting of the book is really… I don’t know.. it just grabs you in. Definitely interested in seeing your thoughts on this πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sweeeeet review! I have yet to dive into a Neil Gaiman book; I’m going to have to fix that for 2017 for sure. It’s the one author from whom I’ve ONLY heard GOOD things. I have watched the animated adaptation of Coraline though. I just know beforehand that his writing must be dazzling just based on that movie. πŸ˜€ Oh, and graveyard visits probably do have something enlightening about them; as paradoxal as that may be…

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks πŸ™‚
      Yay for giving Gaiman a go… I believe you will enjoy, even if purely for the writing itself. Just quality stuff. at least that was the case with The Graveyard Book… it was just so easy to read without any annoying little niggles some books may have πŸ™‚ And dgreat characters in this book, too!
      I hope you enjoy his book(s) when you get a chance to read ’em πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • I just had to bail you out of jail, Teach! πŸ™‚ What did you do do be thrown in there in the first place? πŸ˜€

      Thank you! I think you would actually really like this book so defo pop that Gaiman cherry! πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      • Apparently, Askimet thinks I’m a comment criminal…took me TWO DAYS to get them to release me. Finally a person understood what I was saying and put a file in a baked cake so I could escape! Mwhoohaha!
        Thanks for freeing me…some ppl I asked had no idea about spam folders! πŸ˜‘

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book, Liis! II personally ADORE Neil Gaiman’s writing. This is one of my favorite Gaiman books- he does a retelling with such grace that it’s hard to see it during the moment, but when I stopped to reflect on it, I found myself saying, “Yes… Yes! YES!” I haven’t seen the illustrated version, so I’ll need to look that up. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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