The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Since I found Nymeth’s blog last year, I have learned about so many books and authors that were new to me and I am really grateful for that, because otherwise, I would have never discovered such wonderful fantasy books or authors like Susanna Clarke and Neil Gaiman. Often, Nymeth would mention Neil Gaiman’s books and how much she loved them and I must admit that she made me curious. Thus, I decided that it was time to read my first Neil Gaiman book and I have chosen to read The Graveyard Book.

Here are my thoughts on this amazing book:

Nobody Owens’ family was murdered when he was just a toddler and since then, he has been living in a graveyard. Raised and educated by ghosts and a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the dead nor of the living, Nobody (called ‘Bod’ for short), has learned a great deal of things and he has embarked on many engaging adventures in the graveyard. From an ancient Indigo Man and ghouls to the terrible Sleer, Bod has encountered many dangers in the graveyard, but he has also made many friends who have protected him and guided him through the years.

As Bod grows from a toddler into a young man, he befriends people from both the world of the dead and of the living, but he doesn’t quite fit in with either of these worlds. Since the young boy yearns to learn more about the world of the living, he is determined to explore the world outside the graveyard. However, there are many dangers that await him there, including the man Jack, who murdered his family and who still looks for Bod. As he explores both the world of the living and of the dead, the reader witnesses how Bod matures and how in the end, this brave young man learns what it means to be alive.

Inspired by Kipling’s The Jungle Book, The Graveyard Book narrates the story of an orphaned boy who, over the course of time, learns so many things about life and ultimately, about himself. As the story evolves, the reader witnesses how Bod changes and matures, and while Bod discovers new things and starts many adventures, we see how he always thirsts for more knowledge and how he becomes more courageous as the story progresses. I really cared deeply about Bod and the other characters and I loved to accompany Bod on his many journeys, including the journey of growing up. Overall, The Graveyard Book is a bittersweet coming-of-age story that is full of kindness, intelligence and surprises! You cannot help but feel touched by this book and you will treasure it like a precious jewel because The Graveyard Book is such a wonderful story that deals with important themes such as courage, risks, change and childhood. Yes, Bod’s story may be a little dark, but Neil Gaiman has accomplished so much with this book! He has narrated a tale that is inventive, warm, suspenseful and educative. The Graveyard Book is one of those books that everybody could read, no matter how old one is as it delivers some strong and important messages to everyone out there. The Graveyard Book teaches the readers that people should dare to take risks and live life to the fullest, as life is too short and we never know when it might come to an end. If we don’t step out of our comfort zone and don’t take certain risks, we might miss out on many wonderful things! Life is hard and there are many dangers out there, but this book teaches us that we have to be brave and believe in ourselves, because in the end, it’s all worth it. Bod sets a perfect example and people can learn so many things from him. Now that he has learned what it means to be alive, Bod is ready to embrace life and enjoy it, with both its good and bad sides. He will make mistakes, meet new people, experience pain, but also joy, as all these things are part of our lives. And if one has not explored the world with all its different facets, one has not lived at all!

Like other readers, I have only one negative thing to say about this book – it’s too short. While reading it, I wanted to learn more about the protagonists, especially Bod’s guardian Silas, Scarlett and Miss Lupescu (I am Romanian / German and although my German is better than my Romanian, I still immediately noticed Miss Lupescu’s name – it’s Romanian and it’s derived from the word ‘wolf’. Also, ‘Lupus’ is Latin for ‘wolf’ and the Romanian language is a Romance language, derived from Latin with 80 % of the Romanian vocabulary being Latin. In addition, on page 211, we find a reference to Miss Lupescu, and we learn that she calls Bod ‘nimeni’, which is again Romanian and means ‘nobody’ in English). Although the book was too short, I found it perfect for me, as it drew me in from page one and it made me think about its themes after I finished reading it. And I love books that make you think and that linger in your mind for a long time! Although I longed for more, I think I know how to satisfy my thirst – I will read more Neil Gaiman books in the future because I just loved The Graveyard Book. If I were to rate it, I would give this book five stars out of five!

Note: I would like to thank Danielle Bartlett from Harper Collins for giving me the opportunity to read and review such a great book!

Other reviews:

Things Mean A Lot

Booklust

Andreea

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bermudaonion
    Apr 23, 2010 @ 13:38:26

    I love it when someone says a book is too short. I’ve read two of Gaiman’s books and enjoyed both of them.

    Reply

  2. Grad
    Apr 23, 2010 @ 15:14:52

    I absolutely loved this book! In fact, I was so touched by the ending I burst into tears. Real, blubbery-type tears. And I loved your review of it. This book really had it all…it was sweet, scary, thought-provoking, suspenseful, hopeful…I mean I could go on and on. And – like you – I wish it had been longer. I didn’t want to say good-bye to that place or those characters.

    Reply

  3. vivienne
    Apr 23, 2010 @ 19:38:05

    Your one negative point is the only reason why I haven’t bought this yet. I keep looking at it and thinking it should be longer. I know I will read it soon though, as all reviews have been glowing for it. A lovely review Andreea.

    Reply

  4. Sandy
    Apr 23, 2010 @ 20:51:23

    I read this book aloud to the kids awhile ago, and they loved it. I was a little concerned that it would freak them out, but they loved the creepiness of it. It was such a unique book. I’d never read anything quite like it, which is really Gaiman’s trademark I think.

    Reply

  5. Aarti
    Apr 23, 2010 @ 23:02:32

    I’m so glad you read and enjoyed this! I agree that Ana is nothing if not a book pusher from afar 🙂 I think she has a lot of clout in blogosphere, and I’m glad she’s introduced you to two such fabulous authors!

    Reply

  6. Lua
    Apr 24, 2010 @ 07:33:45

    I think what Nymeth’s blog did for you, your blog is doing it for me Andreea:) Since I discovered your blog, I’ve also discovered so many authors and books that were new to me and it’s been such a great journey following your footsteps with my reading list!

    I’m always disappointed when a good book is too short- it makes me want to pick up a pen and a paper and write to the author, asking him to rewrite it- and make it longer! 🙂

    Reply

  7. Nymeth
    Apr 24, 2010 @ 12:11:25

    This review made my day, Andreea 😀 I’m so glad you loved it too! I also wanted it to be longer, but on the other hand I love a story that leaves me aching for more.

    Reply

  8. ds
    Apr 24, 2010 @ 14:29:39

    Isn’t Nymeth wonderful!! I can’t tell you the number of books she has added to my reading list! I also would like to delve into this one. You do a great job of further convincing me that that should be sooner rather than later. Thanks for the great review, Andreea!

    Reply

  9. Jenny
    Apr 24, 2010 @ 21:25:49

    I’ve never read any of his books either, but this one is really intriguing!! I’ll have to read this one one of these days.

    Reply

  10. Eva
    Apr 25, 2010 @ 07:06:21

    Isn’t Gaiman awesome?! I loved him before I started book blogging, and it’s so thrilling to see how many bloggers love him too. 🙂

    Reply

  11. Alice Teh
    Apr 25, 2010 @ 09:26:10

    Gaiman is one of my favorite authors and this is one of my favorite books! You did a great job with this review.

    Reply

  12. Melody
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 01:57:16

    I absolutely loved this book! Gaiman is a talented author and though I’ve yet to read all his books to-date, I’m glad to say I’ve most of his book in my pile and I look forward to reading them. 🙂

    Reply

  13. Kathleen
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 19:52:41

    Thanks to Nymeth’s blog I have had this on my list for quite some time! I’m glad you enjoyed it so much, I look forward to reading it myself one of these days soon!

    Reply

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