Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Rating = 4
Young Adult

Nobody (Bod) Owens has lived in a graveyard since he was 18 months old and toddled in after his family was murdered. His graveyard parents are Mr. and Mrs. Owens and he sleeps in their tomb. His "guardian" is Silas who is neither dead nor alive and who is able to slip into the outside world to buy Bod clothes and food. As Bod grows up, he learns many things about the world of the dead and the world of the living. The most important thing he learns, though, is that he must never leave the graveyard, because his graveyard family can't protect him "out there".

This is a highly original, quirky book. I listened to it and the recording was read by the author, which added to the richness of the work. The story is told in chapters that almost stand on their own as separate stories. Each story is another lesson learned by Bod, but they also eventually come together as a whole. Although the book won a Newbery Award in 2009, parts of the story may be too scary for younger children. It's listed as a top ten favorite book by teens on the YALSA website. As an adult, I LOVED Gaiman's command of the language; his irony and references to things only adults would probably be aware of. There is something to enjoy for audiences of any age!

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