Friday, August 14, 2009

Riveting Reads: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman


I confess.
I picked The Graveyard Book because of the author: Neil Gaiman.
Yep. The wild-haired British literary miscreant does it for me. I’ve been a Neil Gaiman fan ever since I was a kid and discovered my brother’s stash of Sandman graphic novels—all written by Gaiman. After I exhausted the pile, I was fortunate enough to continue my addiction, because Gaiman began writing novels. I breezed through them as they came across his shelf in the bookstores. I read Neverwhere, American Gods, Stardust, and Anansi Boys, each time feeding off Gaiman’s Poesque wit and imagery. There is something mysterious and realistic about Gaiman’s contemporary gothic novels. And then he started writing children’s literature, and I was in hog heaven. As an English teacher, I’m always looking for adolescent literature to introduce to my students. Coraline was a hit with the kids (and now is a major motion picture), and although it was targeted more a much younger demographic, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish also attracted a few fans in my classes. This leads me to his latest accomplishment: The Graveyard Book.
The setting of The Graveyard Book is—surprise, surprise—a graveyard. The character: Nobody Owens, or Bod to his companions. After the brutal murder of his parents by the man Jack, the toddling Bod wanders out of his house and into the depths of nearby graveyard. The residents of the ancient graveyard take him under their wisps and raise him as a live boy, yet teach him a few ethereal tricks to keep him safe from harm. Bod’s foster family educates him as a regal vampire serves as his guardian. Among these creatures, Bod also encounters a witch, werewolf, Indigo Man, and the gateway to a ghoul city. But these are just the everyday dangers of his home. Outside the boundaries of the graveyard walks the man Jack, who has unfinished business with Bod.
The Graveyard Book is Gaiman to the core, and now in a nice children’s literature package. It’s the perfect melding of the supernaturally grotesque and naturally grotesque with Gaiman at the reins. And if my word isn’t enough to sell you, the whole world seems to be on board with me (including Tori Amos, but probably because she’s dear friend of Neil’s.) Not only is The Graveyard Book internationally bestselling, but it also won the prestigious and coveted Newberry Metal. Gaiman’s got talent, no doubt about it. Get a copy of The Graveyard Book, fall in love with the wordsmith, then exhaust the rest of his collection like I did. Your mind’s eye will thank you.

6 comments:

  1. Sounds great. My sister is a huge Gaimen fan. the only one I've read by him is "Good Omens," a comedy about the Apocalypse, which was great.

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  2. oh my gosh, I love that book. I laugh everytime i read it. I love how the demons sent the hell hound to the kid and he deems it "dog".

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  3. The hell hound was the best. That whole book rocked. I just got The Graveyard Book. Can't wait to read it.

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  4. I forgot to tell you that I read The Road in like 3 days. Lots of long nights. It was incredible. I can't believe you haven't read it yet. I'll review it soon.

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  5. I missed you at school today. I hope you are having fun at SHHS.

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  6. I've been too busy for fun. missed you too. You need to come see the new house.

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