Monday, October 24, 2016

The Graveyard Book - Review

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Amazon link)

Rating: Very Good
Source: Purchased

Description:  After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family...

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

Genre: Children/YA

Why I Picked This Book: I've been wanting to try Neil Gaiman's books for years and this one intrigued me.

My Impression: My only real exposure to Gaiman is through the episodes of Doctor Who that he's written and to be honest they weren't my favorite.  They're on the weird side - even for that show and I just never really clicked with them.  When I saw a review awhile ago for The Graveyard Book I knew that was one I wanted to start with.  For one thing I love graveyards and love wandering through and looking at the names and inscriptions so I figured a book set in one couldn't go wrong.  But I did wonder how on earth this could be a children's book?  I mean there's a grisly murder in the first paragraph of the blurb!
But somehow Gaiman really does make this a children's book - a weird one yes but one I think a child in late elementary school would love.  It's also one that I think captures the imagination of adults as well as it definitely captured mine!  The story is told in a series of stories as Bod grows from a toddler into a young man.  Each story gave me a better picture of the graveyard world he lives in and I felt like I got to know Bod himself better.
The book itself has an almost magical hazy quality that sharpens into focus with the telling of each individual story.  The writing felt almost stark but also managed to bring the inhabitants of the graveyard to life.  There is poignancy, sweetness, and humor running throughout the book with a constant undertone of dread.  While it wasn't a book that I read in one sitting it was one that I was immediately pulled into anytime I put it up and one that stayed with me even when I wasn't reading.  There is a bizarreness that wouldn't work for everyone but I think this would appeal to many readers. I've heard raves about the audio version and after reading this I can see how it would be amazing.  I'd definitely "reread" this through audio.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  While I'm not sure I'm ready for his full on adult stories I'm looking forward to reading Coraline and Neverwhere soon.

Would I Recommend this Book?: I would but with some reservations.  This is definitely a captivating story but you have to be in the right mood for it and be okay with a heaping spoonful of magical.

26 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this one, too!

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  2. I have a confession to make... I've never read Gaiman! I bought Neverwhere for a readalong last year, but wasn't able to get to it. Maybe some day.

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    1. This was my first and while I don't think I'll become one of his devoted fans I did really enjoy it!

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  3. I've only read The Ocean at the nod of the Lane and I really liked that one. I'll try this book too since you liked it so much

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    1. This is definitely a children's book but it was really good! I think you'd like it.

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  4. I'm not a huge Neil Gaiman fan. I didn't like Stardust at all. But I did enjoy The Graveyard Book and Fortunately the Milk. I read the graphic novel of Coraline and liked that one as well. I'm glad you enjoyed this.

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    1. I'm thinking I'm going to find his adult books for me but I did really like this one. I think I can handle his sense of bizarre better in children's fiction.

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  5. I have had this book for a couple of years now and have never gotten to it. I wanted to before Halloween... I don't know if that will happen as I'm running out of time.

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    1. I have a long list of books I always mean to read but don't quite make it happen. This is worth reading anytime of year though!

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  6. I was told by one of my students I had to read it - so of course I did as I was told! It was surprisingly good, not my usual kind of read but ... always good to stray outside the usual.

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    1. I kept stalling on Gaiman's books because they seem so off the wall. I am really glad I took the chance with this one. I really enjoyed it!

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  7. Nice to know that this isn't too bad for kids, since I would assume the same thing based on the "grisly murder" part! Age of course being crucial I'm sure. I hear so much about Neil Gaiman and to be honest his stuff has never appealed to me that much- but maybe one of these days I'll try him. The closest I came to his stuff was watching Stardust and thinking of reading it- but I haven't.

    He must be doing something right though as he's very popular. :)

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    1. I think you would like this one Greg. It's unusual but it's interesting and fantastical. I'd love to see your thoughts on it!

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  8. This book definitely has some scare factor. The Seraphina series does too, not as much as this book, but enough. My Jellybean can't read it at night.

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    1. I have one who I don't think could've read this at night as well but I was surprised with how age appropriate it was given the subject. The Serafina books look amazing! On my TBR soon!

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  9. I have not read any Gaiman yet. I knew I had some of his works, but I was surprised to find out I have Coralline, The House At the Edge Of the Ocean, two short story collections as ebooks, and an audiobook of Neverwhere. Ha ha. I really wantwd to read The Graveyard Book and in tbe back of my mind I thought it was one of the ebooks I had picked up on sale, but sadly it wasn't. Thanks for your review! I love weird, so I really am craving to read it now. :)

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    1. I'm really curious to see your take on this one since you're so thorough and informed with your MG reviews. Also, I really think you'd enjoy this one!

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  10. This sounds good. I added it to my list for Christmas gifts and Princess Sophia's future TBR list.

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    1. Very future TBR for the Princess! I think my girls' would have been ready for this around 4th or 5th grade. I hope you enjoy this! It's like nothing I've read before.

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  11. I've only read one of his books before but I did love the film of Stardust, it was fab. I really need to properly start on his books!

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    1. I'm really looking forward to reading more of his MG books!

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  12. I so need to read this...it's been on my shelf for so long...I've read one or two others of his and enjoyed them.

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    1. I think if you've enjoyed his other books you'd really enjoy this one. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it!

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  13. I ended up DNF'ing this title, but I'm glad you enjoyed it :-)

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    1. I can definitely see it not working. It was one of those books that even while I was enjoying it I could definitely see it not working for everyone.

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