2009: The Graveyard Book (Life with the Dead)

VERDICT: Treasure

Laurinda’s Rating: 3.5/5

Neil Gaiman’s Graveyard Book is an interesting story of Bod, a boy whose family was killed but who lucks into a new family in the local graveyard. The ghosts raise and educate him, leading to an odd mix of lessons, depending partially on what era the ghost lived in. However, as Bod grows older, he realizes that the man who killed his family is still out there, and wants to kill him to finish the job. Through a combination of luck and ingenuity, Bod and his friends defeat the group of men intent on his death, thus bringing about the prediction that Bod will cause their downfall. As a consequence of the fight, though, Bod’s girlfriend loses her memory of him and moves away. Shortly thereafter, Bod’s graveyard powers start to fade, signaling his descent into adulthood. His guardian packs him off with a suitcase, passport, and money to make his way in the world. After getting over the hurt of another abandonment, Bod is excited to make his way in the world.

I wanted to like this more than I actually did. It took me quite a while to make it through because the plot wasn’t exactly riveting. The pacing also seemed a bit uneven to me, in that most of the book focused on small incidents unrelated to the main plot of the men who wanted to kill Bod. This was clearly a deliberate choice, at it enhanced the homey atmosphere of the story, but, well, I prefer a bit more action. IMO, Gaiman’s biggest strength is in his language use. The words are gorgeous and entertaining. The book is worth reading just for his amusing turns of phrase.

 

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