The Graveyard Book [Neil Gaiman]

Neil Gaiman (2008)
Paperback, 2008
Times Travel – SGD15.95

There are so many aspects of the novel that I found very magical and exhilarating. It’s a dark fantasy for children that takes place around the graveyard. The characters are mainly (kind and old grumpy) ghosts, a few normal human beings, and a few bad people. The story is unusual but it surprisingly doesn’t feel strange at all.

Bod, short from Nobody Owens, the main protagonist of the novel, lives in graveyard since the day his family were killed by a man named Jack. The graveyard’s residents take care of him and grant him the ability to live in 2 world of the dead and the living. Bod is kept hidden in the graveyard because the ghosts are afraid the killer will come back.

The main reason for the murders is not revealed until the end of the book, perhaps to satisfy readers in case they want to know. After all the adventures that part becomes less significant but complimentary. The main theme is so much about growing up, where a boy would make mistakes, breaking rules, learning about others’ and taking bigger responsibility, no matter in which part of the world he lives in, which is the graveyard for Bod. Readers will grow up as Bod does. In earlier chapters, we follow little Bod playing and causing troubles for his guardian and parents, and later on he transformed into a young adult who thinks and behaves more carefully. I don’t want him to grow up, but heck… everyone has too. ^_^

The most magical part was the Danse Macabre from Chapter 5, the day when the winter flowers bloomed in the graveyard. It never happened in the last 80 years. At the stroke of midnight, the ghosts from the graveyard walked down and… I so wanted to be there! Bod’s introduction with Liza Hampton is one of the scariest parts of the novel, it gave me goosebumps perhaps because I read it after midnight. And his friendship with her is one of the weirdest yet sweetest too, Mr Gaiman is really good in telling the story. Imagine, we have a witch friend, a dead one, who died drowned and burned. Brr…

At the beginning of each chapter there’re illustrations made by Chris Riddell as highlight of the chapter. These are similar with the drawings used for the book covers. They are suited as companions to the novel. This book has been in my collection since late 2008 and has been long forgotten. Few months later I bought another copy of it because I thought this is an interesting book. It takes only 1.5 years for me to finally got the time to read the book, which turns out to be a gem! Oh I soooo hate horror movies and stories, and somehow this novel was able to captivate me and my time. I never put it down from the beginning until I completely finished it.

Neil Richard Gaiman is an English author of many masterpieces such as Coraline, Stardust, American Gods and Anansi Boys. I read 3 novels from him, and so far I adore the way he tells stories with unusual themes, a little dark but so full of fantasy. Indeed, he’s a great author and truly a rock star!


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