Award: Newbery Medal, 2009
Yet another Gaiman story that I liked well enough, but did not love. It is much better than Interworld, but there are some loose ends and scenes that fell flat towards the end of the story that keep it from being one of my favorites.
The Graveyard Book tells the story of a little boy who escapes being murdered by a mysterious man Jack. He is rescued and raised by a ghost couple in a nearby graveyard and has a guardian who is just as mysterious as Jack, perhaps more so. As Nobody “Bod” Owens grows up, the man Jack gets closer to finding him, still seeking his death at any cost.
The premise of a boy being raised in a graveyard to escape certain death is a good one and the book delves deeply into a magical world, where a boy comes to learn what it means to grow up, face your fears and step out into the world. The reader is taken on a journey with Bod from his early childhood to his teenage years as he learns about the past, the present, and future possibilities. We see the changes in him from a curious, adventurous child, to a young man with an inquisitive mind who wants to know more about the world.
For answers, he always turns to his guardian, Silas, who always succinctly tells him the truth, no matter how much it may hurt. Unfortunately, we never really get to know much about Silas, who is a fascinating character, which is part of the reason this book did not reach that “love” status from me.
Another aspect of the story is that two major events (one with his only living friend and one with his teacher) are rushed and Bod’s reactions are lacking realism. I won’t say much more since I do not want to spoil the story for you, but what happened should have had much more of an impact and played more of a part towards the very end of the book.
This is one of those books that you really have to pick up and read to find out if you would like it. Do I recommend the book? Absolutely, I think it is a worthwhile read! Do I recommended it to anyone who likes a good story? Yes, but reluctant readers will probably have a hard time sinking their teeth into this one, since the narrative demands the reader make inferences and pay careful attention to descriptions.
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