The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Neil Gaiman says of himself, “I make things up and write them down.” What I say about him is that he does a darn fine job of it. At least he certainly does in The Graveyard Book. I read this book last year, and somehow neglected to review it, an oversight I am obviously correcting right now. This is the only Gaiman book I’ve read to date, but I have a whole stack of them waiting for me, and I plan to get to them soon.
The Graveyard Book is really aimed at older children, but believe me, it is a treasure for adults, too. A very cleverly conceived story of a boy raised in a cemetery (hence the name of the book, of course) by ghosts from various historical periods. The reason he is being raised by ghosts is because his family was murdered when he was a toddler, but he escaped the carnage by…toddling! Out the open front door and down to the graveyard, where he was immediately “adopted” by the denizens thereof. The story of his strange childhood is absolutely captivating, and the reasons for his family’s murder are uncovered bit by bit as he grows from toddler to teen, guided by his ghostly family and a mentor who fits in neither the world of the living, nor the world of the dead.
The Graveyard Book was released in 2008, and I’m sorry it took me so long to find it, and even longer to review it. But I plan to make up for lost time on the rest of his books. Don’t be put off by the fact that this one was written for older children. It’s absolutely perfect for adults, too. Yes, I know it has been said to be a re-imagining of Kipling’s Jungle Book, but I don’t care. It stands on its own merit as far as I’m concerned, and I can’t wait to see what other treasures Gaiman has cooked up while I was looking elsewhere. You really should check it out. I’ll bet you won’t be sorry.
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