Author: Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book begins with such an eerie opening that I was immediately in raptures over it. Nobody Owens, through both tragic and lucky circumstances, finds himself in the care of the inhabitants of a graveyard. Taken in by a pair of ghosts and watched over by the mysterious Silas, Bod grows up surrounded by the paranormal who do all they can to keep the boy safe within their graveyard. Despite the warning, Bod longs to explore the land of the living and as he grows up he learns that the man Jack, who killed his family, still seeks him.
“It’s only death. I mean, all of my best friends are dead.”
There are the rare occasions when I am so charmed by a children’s book that I forget that (1) it was written for children and (2) I’m not one. Nobody Owens is all wide-eyed curiosity. Every mystery is a new adventure and every stranger is a prospective friend. He is an empty vessel waiting to be filled and who better to fill it than the ghosts of the past?
Filled with ghosts, ghouls, and witches, The Graveyard Book explores the scene of a cemetery through the eyes of a child. But like every child Bod learns that growing up does not come without its aches and pains, for Bod is not like those who dwell in the graveyard. His own wants war against the concerns of his guardian Silas and the more Bod pushes the more those around him begin to realize that the graveyard cannot always be Bod’s home. Time passes for him, but those around him are trapped in a perpetual state.
At its core The Graveyard Book is a coming-of-age novel. And though childhood may be magical, there comes a time when it must be left behind. Of course that doesn’t mean we can’t revisit it through books such as this. I’ll leave you with the first page of the book and let it thrill you as it did me.