Daily Archives: October 30, 2009

Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard BookI thought I’d make sure I posted this review before Halloween, although I’m cutting it close!


Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family. . . .

I went into this book with very high expectations. I should really stop doing that, I don’t think it ever helps, and sometimes causes me to be disappointed in a book that would otherwise have thrilled me.

I had a hard time with the beginning of The Graveyard Book. Once the boy was in the Graveyard, the book improved for me.

I enjoyed the book most when Bod was interacting with the outside world, whether it is by being an imaginary friend to a young girl or attempting to attend school without attracting attention.

That said, I thought all the interactions were well done, and that the characters (living, dead and other) were the strongest aspect of the book.

I also enjoyed exploring the world Neil Gaiman created in this book. In the end, I was more interested in the bad guys for their role in the universe than the details of their battle with Bod. The ghosts in the graveyard, the ghouls, and all the others were what gave the book its structure– more so that the plot.

The book was more of a series of short stories than a single book. This worked for me.

The book was pleasantly creepy. The beginning and the end were scary, but I think that charming might better describe the parts in-between.

I really enjoyed Neil Gaiman reading his own book. Some author’s don’t have the voice or the control for it, but he does, and there is a thrill in knowing that’s how the author intended it to sound.

I read this book for my Book Club L.  Opinion was someone mixed about this book.  Most members had some about of difficulty with the beginning of the book, and that carried further in for some, where others got into it pretty quickly after that. We had a good discussion, ranging from talking about influences Neil Gaiman drew from (we had considered talking about The Jungle Book as well, but I gave it up when no one else was reading it), favorite aspects of the book, and what we’d figured out when. Things that seemed obvious to one person came as a complete surprise to others. I’d consider this a good, but not great, book club selection.


Posted by on October 30, 2009 in Book Club, books, L, reviews


Tags: , , , ,