A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{June 2, 2014}   The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

TheGraveyardBook_HardcoverPlot: A man named Jack kills an entire family but one. The toddler miraculously escapes and wanders into a graveyard where he is adopted by the dead and given the name Nobody Owens. Nobody grows up in that graveyard, learning and having minor misadventures, but the threat of the man Jack and his ilk is never far off.

This review is based on the audiobook narrated by Neil Gaiman.

I’m quite fond of Gaiman’s books for middle grade audiences. Both Coraline and The Graveyard Book are oddly magical and deliciously creepy (though, somehow much creepier to adults than to the kids themselves). And it’s a special treat to have Gaiman read it to me himself. What a voice! *fans self*

Coraline is the more focused of the two novels, probably because it takes place over a very short period of time. The Graveyard Book starts with Nobody’s adoption by the dead and ends on his 15th birthday and it takes a very long time to get to the explanation for the murders that open the novel. It is a quirky sort of buildungsroman, really, more than it is horror or adventure. Between adoption and adulthood, he is tutored by the dead and by various other mythic creatures and comes across some dangerous people and ghouls from which he must escape using the unusual talents that the dead have taught him. Thus there is adventure and action, especially towards the end but half the fun of the book are the quiet periods where he learns interesting tidbits from people who died long ago and lived lives very different from our own.

It is also often a funny book. I love Gaiman’s humour. He is not the type to make me guffaw but he has a quiet, clever (occasionally dark) humour that really appeals to me. For example when Nobody is ask to list the different types of people and he answers, hesitantly, “the dead, the living and… cats.” Silly Nobody, we all know, cats especially that cats aren’t people. They’re better than. 😉

Gaiman novels are enjoyable in and of themselves but if you get the opportunity to have him read them to you, don’t pass it up. It only adds to the magic.

2014 (#19)


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