Book Review: The Graveyard Book

Towards the end of this year, I started listening to audio books. I wasn’t sure of the format earlier but now I love listening to audio books. And if the narrator is good then the experience of listening to the audio book is all the more enriching. The Graveyard Book is my first Neil Gaiman book and I decided on the audio book because Gaiman reads his own audio books most of the times. He’s got a lovely accent and he’s just amazing at it.

Nobody Owens becomes orphaned when he’s just a toddler. An unknown ‘Jack’ murders his entire family but the toddler somehow gets off his cradle, finds the house door open and walks out for adventure. He ends up at the local graveyard. Jack comes after the toddler but is misled by the local ghosts. Seeing that Bod’s life is in danger, a childless ghost couple adopts him. A vampire Silas becomes Bod’s guardian and Bod is given the Protection of the Graveyard. Together, the graveyards and its inhabitants, raise Bod- through love and guidance. Bod’s life in the graveyard is quite interesting. He interacts with ghosts spanning several thousand years and sometimes falls into trouble too.

The story is quite entertaining and well structured. The story opens with brutal murders lending an air of mystery and an ongoing threat to Bod’s life. The mystery is revealed towards the end of the story and in the meantime, young Bod is trained and educated by the ghosts to the best of their capacity. We watch Bod grow up and trying to venture out in the living world. The whole thing was creepy, entertaining and very emotional too. I felt sorry for the toddler when his whole family is wiped out and had a sigh of relief when the ghosts took him under their protection. It reminded me of ‘The Jungle Book’ but the setting here is that of a graveyard.

Inspite of its sinister beginning, the book is a real treat. The world of graveyard is fantastic. The ghosts and the creatures inhabiting the graveyard make for a delightful bunch of characters. I loved the characters of Silas and Miss Lupesku for their love and commitments towards Bod. Bod himself is such an endearing young lad. Torn between the living and the dead, he embraces his unusual life with such maturity. We watch Bod grow up, getting into troubles and trying to solve the mystery of his family’s murders. The story kept me intrigued till the end. Neil Gaiman has created an exceptionally well story replete with creepy elements which appeals both to the young and the adults alike. The bittersweet ending is quite emotional.

This unusual and unique story of Bod is neither too morbid nor overly sweet. It’s just the right mix of tragedy, suspense, creepiness and sweetness to keep the readers captivated throughout. On the whole, a curious, imaginative and entertaining book that I highly recommend.

Title: The Graveyard Book

Originally published: 30 September 2008

Author: Neil Gaiman

Page count: 312 (first edition)

Genres: Horror fiction, Children’s literature, Young adult fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Paranormal fiction

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