By: Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by: Chris Riddell
Nobody Owens is a child with a remarkable and unlikely home. He lives within the confines of a large graveyard where the dead are both his friends and his family. Under their guidance, he is nurtured, educated, and protected from the outside world.
However, the man Jack hunts for young Bod in the hopes of killing him like he killed Bod’s family so many years ago. The simplest way to stay safe is to never leave the graveyard, but Bod is inquisitive and wishes to see the outside world. That inquisitiveness may very well be the thing that brings his life to an end and turns him into another ghostly resident of the graveyard.
I have yet to be disappointed by anything that Neil Gaiman writes. He’s almost infallible in my eyes, and I am in complete awe of his imagination. The Graveyard Book is another work of pure art shaped by his deft and talented mind. This beautiful and wonderful book made me wish for the innocence of childhood. Bod is a frank character with a strong sense of adventure, and I admired him as a protagonist. He’s so brave in a way I don’t think I ever could be.
I smiled so much while reading this book that I could feel my heart swell in my chest. It never ceases to amaze me how Gaiman can write adult themes for young readers with thought-provoking clarity, wit, and warmth. This novel is about a child raised by the dead and yet he eliminates all fear of death like death is an old, kind friend. A friend that eventually comes to greet us all. I can see how a book like this could comfort a child, could give them hope, and inspire them to live despite hard times.
Had I read this novel when I was younger, I have no doubt that I would have loved it. It’s a sentimental read.
My only complaint is that there should have been more of Chris Riddell’s fantastic illustrations.
If you aren’t averse to reading a middle-grade book because you think you are too “adult” for that sort of thing, I highly recommend you pick this up.
Overall rating: 5