The Graveyard BookWarnings: Mentions of death, mentions of suicide
You were raised in a house or apartment, probably with a parent or two. That’s pretty average in my experience. But, well...it’s not the case for Nobody “Bod” Owens. Bod’s your typical kid, except...he lives in a graveyard. And he’s raised by ghosts. Because this guy named Jack killed his parents and wants to kill him too. Pretty cool concept, right? Even though just that isn’t really a plot, so author Niel Gaiman wrote an entire fantasy novel called The Graveyard Book that follows the life of Bod and his family of ghosts, which includes Mrs. and Mr. Owens, Silas, Caius Pompeius, and Josiah Worthington. It opens with “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife” (Gaiman 2). In this dramatically introduced first chapter, a man kills a man and a woman along with their daughter, a toddler manages to get from his cradle to a graveyard, and a group of ghosts decide to adopt him and call him Nobody (as they say he looks like). The man, called Jack, ends up at that graveyard, where a “stranger” has a nice chat with him that involved how one might confuse a baby with a fox. Then Jack leaves, and the stranger, whose name is Silas, agrees to be the toddler’s guardian. It’s revealed that Jack killed Nobody’s family because of something called the Convocation, and that the night of the murders was “the culmination of months--of years--of work” (Gaiman 32).
The next chapter is about five-year old Bod meeting a friend named Scarlette, the third one talks about his adventures with ghouls, and the rest of the book is mainly following the rest of his life, up until he’s a young adult. Scarlett makes a comeback toward the end, and Jack...well, he comes back too and he’s not happy.
Overall it was a great read. The plot was less straightforward than most other books I’ve read, as in it didn’t really follow the typical “character yearns, character tries and fails to reach goal multiple times, character has a deciding moment of win-or-lose” pattern. For a while, it really just focused on explaining the lore and developing characters. New ghosts sometimes showed up at seemingly random times and only stayed for a page or even a paragraph. Silas tended to be the serious guy, he’d explain things to Bod when the Owenses wouldn’t give him a straight or consistent answer. Bod, of course, had the most appearances. He was a curious kid, who treated most paranormal stuff like it happened to everyone. He had to stay inside the graveyard because “it’s only in the graveyard that [the ghosts] can keep [him] safe” (Gaiman 37). Then there’s Jack, who worked for the Convocation and was sent to kill Bod’s whole family after months of planning. He seemed like a massive jerk at the start who was good at manipulating words. Most everyone was pretty reliable, especially Bod, it was from his point of view after all. And I really liked him, not because he’s the main character and the “safe” option, but because he got to see and learn so much. The author wrote with what I’d call a fairly old-fashioned word choice. Not like with “thee” and those words, but in a way that made it feel old and more advanced than what I’ve read before. The book should be classified as a kind of dark fiction novel. I mean, it’s not dark in the sense like horror, but it talks about some dark topics like death, and there’s suicide mentions. So, the kind of thing in middle to high school onward. It talks a lot about Bod wanting to see the world and him being free to do so, as in Jack is stopping him from going out and exploring. Think about it: You’ve been stuck in a graveyard for as long as you can remember, and you can’t leave because then your family can’t protect you. Wouldn’t you want to know what’s out there? And since Bod is the only one who’s not a ghost, he doesn’t really know who he is and...it sucks.
Like I said before, it’s a really good read and I recommend it to pretty much anyone who’s into ghosts and killers. It’s really interesting and it has this unique feel to it that you can’t find in many other books. So go now, go click into a new tab and look up The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and preview it or buy it on Amazon or from Barnes & Noble or whatever site you use, go buy it and read it and tell your friends because it’s awesome.