The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Rated S for spirited spookies and soul-filled life lessons.
It takes a graveyard to raise a child.
Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a totally normal kid. So what if he was raised by spirits in a graveyard and has guardians like a hellhound and somebody that belongs to limbo, a place that’s neither among the living nor the dead.
As Bod grows up, he encounters incredible dangers and adventures, but he discovers that real danger is beyond the gates of the graveyard in the land of the living.
The book brought a unique view to “It takes a village…”. This coming-of-age story took a turn down a strange lane, just as Gaiman is always want to do. After a serial killer manages, to kill two parents, their young boy manages to get away and hide away in the graveyard only up the hill where he is then adopted by a ghosty married couple.
The ghosts, monsters, and tales that Bod was able to be a part of really offered similar lessons that of the living. For example, respect your guardians and also understand that there are always going to be things you don’t know about a person. These lessons came together with Miss Lupesco, one of Bod’s teachers. During times that Silas—who I believe to be Death itself—was away, she was the one to watch over and protect Bod. These lessons offer the opportunity to see a person in a way you never have and even find a new appreciation.
As Bod came to know each of these unique characters, they didn’t just disappear. In some books, characters go as fast as they come and you don’t even hear much of a mention of them afterward. Gaiman manages the exact opposite. Each character leaves a lasting and memorable impression that impacts Bod as he grows up.
Bod shared many special relationships and was able to experience a world that I believe many people dream about. It’s a world beyond the living, and typically the living can only get to that world one way. Yet, Bod got to grow up in it. He made incredible friends, Liza, the witch, being my favorite. She was sassy and challenging. One of those that you have to get past the hard shell to get to know what’s underneath.
The structure of the book followed Bod as he grew up. In each one he was a little older until the end where everything came together as he faced his parents’ killer that had come back for him. It was a great build-up throughout the story with remarkable moments. The bittersweet ending was emotional and made my heart heavy, like sending a child off to college.
This one hit me differently. It took a bit for me to get into the book, but overall, this was a wonderful and meaningful read. Spatial with excitement and thrills around every gravestone. I was left wistful and nearly started this book over right after finishing just to see baby Bod.
“The graveyard kept its secrets.” (p. 18)
“Fear is contagious. You can catch it. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to say they’re scared for the fear to become real.” (p. 188)
“I want to see life. I want to hold it in my hands. I want to leave a footprint on the sand of a desert island. I want to play football with people. I want…I want everything.” (Bod, p. 304)
“Leave no path untaken. A difficult challenge, but I can try my best.” (Bod, p. 307)
More to come soon…
Song Today? Graveyard Whistling by Nothing But Thieves.
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!
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