the contextual life

thoughts without borders

Short Takes: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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In The Graveyard Book, with it’s sparse language and eight concise chapters, Neil Gaiman shines as a master storyteller. Although written for children, the story, winning the 2009 Newbery Medal winner, follows the Gothic fairy tale tradition, assuring it a satisfied adult audience.

The Graveyard Book is the story of Nobody Owens, a boy whose family meets a brutal end when he is just a baby. Unnoticed by the murderer, he escapes from the house and finds his way to the nearby graveyard. There he’s raised by ghosts, given to the Owens’ as a son, to Silas as a charge, and renamed “Nobody,” or “Bod” for short.

In true Gaiman fashion, the usual ghost story is flipped on its head, with the ghosts as protectors and humans (mostly) as villains. The boy has “The Freedom of the Graveyard,” the ability to go places inaccessible by the average living person, and a few ghost-like attributes, such as fading and remaining unnoticed—not to mention the ability to see and communicate with the graveyard’s dead inhabitants.

Trite as it is to say, this book is a coming of age tale. For years, Bod is kept inside the grounds for safety, watched over by the numerous ghosts, all of whom know there will come a time when he’s no longer a boy and must go out into the world to live among the living. As Bod grows older, the years neatly chronicled in separate chapters, he becomes curious, asks more questions, and takes more risks.

The Graveyard Book is a heartwarming story for all ages. Read it and pass it along to the younger ones in your life.

::[Links]::
Buy The Graveyard Book at IndieBound (or find it at a local indie bookstore near you)
The Graveyard Book site
Neil Gaiman on the Orgins of The Graveyard Book (video)
The Art of Dave McKean (book’s illustrator)
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Written by Gabrielle

December 6, 2011 at 6:06 am

One Response

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