The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Rating: 5/5 stars
“It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”
Nobody Owens is a human boy raised by the ghosts of dead souls in a graveyard. He is free to roam around the graveyard as he pleases, learning to fade in and out of vision and able to jump into dreams of the living. He is told to never leave the graveyard, for there is a man named Jack who is on the hunt to kill him. Nobody meets many different types of people in the graveyard—witches, ghouls, and living people walking among the graves. These different beings take him on many adventures both inside and out of the graveyard.
This book read more like a collection of related short stories to me. Although fluid, the chapters could be read individually. Nevertheless, Gaiman’s writing is articulate, fun, and easy to follow for readers of all ages. Nobody is the perfect protagonist for a young reader to relate to and a way for older readers to reflect back upon themselves as children. I really enjoyed joining Nobody through his adventures in discovering the laws of the undead.
I found interesting parallels between this novel and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. At first I was worried that the two would be too similar, but Gaiman takes this novel into a completely different world than The Ocean. (By the way, if you haven’t read The Ocean yet, please go do so right away).
I didn’t really know what urban fantasy was before I read The Graveyard Book, but now it all makes sense. There’s no way I could put the genre into my own words, but this is definitely it. Since I don’t usually read “fantasy” books, I was hesitant to jump into this book. Now I am an avid lover of urban fantasy, a title that I embrace.
Neil Gaiman is fantastic. You probably already knew that. Hell, who doesn’t know that by now? The Graveyard Book is, also, fantastic. I got the book for Christmas and I’m writing this review Christmas night.