Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book

 

Plot

Parts of the book felt somewhat disjointed for me and I found out later that some chapters were written as short stories. So, while there were plotlines that ran the length of the book, I was a bit frustrated with some scenes and situations that felt like a big plant with no payoff. Major things happened that seemed to have no purpose later in the story. The main plotline was intriguing, as the man Jack seeks out Nobody Owens, the boy who escaped his attempted murder, to finally put him to death. I do wish the plot was a bit… more. There wasn’t always something to make me want to keep reading, and the main conflict was sometimes forgotten altogether.

Characters

The main character is Nobody Owens, otherwise known as Bod. He is the boy who escaped the murderer who killed his family and is now being raised in a graveyard by ghosts and other creepy creatures. He’s adventurous and tends to do what he shouldn’t, which often leads to trouble. The book follows him from toddlerhood until he’s a young man. Silas, Bod’s half-dead, half-alive guardian, was another of my favorites. He was as real as he could be with Bod, while still protecting him and taking care of him. He was the right mix of sympathetic, tough, trustworthy, and mysterious. It was also fun to see how Mr. and Mrs. Owens handle life as ghost parents, and we get to see Liza Hempstock, the witch girl who makes appearances in other Gaiman books.

Writing Quality

I think there’s no question that Gaiman writes beautifully. He’s incredibly imaginative and his use of language is brilliant. I do wish he’d write something that wasn’t 3rd person distant pov, since that’s one of my least favorites, the “narrator” pov, but hey, that’s his style. I also love that he reads most of his own audiobooks and he has one of the most charming British accents and reading voices out there. You can listen to this book on YouTube where he read a chapter per stop, I think, while on a book tour. There’s nothing like listening to an author who reads well, read his own work aloud.

Entertainment

It was a fun story. Though some parts, I’m not sure if I’d want to read to a child, which is the target age range. It might be too scary for some younger kids, but I think most will love it. For adults, there is plenty to enjoy as well and it doesn’t feel much like a kid’s book in the way it’s written. The language isn’t oversimplified or anything. As you reach each chapter, you have no idea what Bod will face next.


The Goodreads Description

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

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

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My Review
  • Plot
  • Characters
  • Writing Quality
  • Entertainment
3.8

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

  1. I listened to the audiobook version. Since Gaiman narrates his own, that helped bring the story alive in a different way than reading it, I imagine. He can emphasize each word exactly as he imagines it read aloud.
    I hadn’t really thought about the distant third. Does he do that for all adult books too? Now I’ll have to check!

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