Hey pals! Coming at you one week late with the October virtual book club review.
What a fitting book to read on Halloween. I really had fun reading Neil Gaiman’s spooky The Graveyard Book, the kind of fun I had when I read Ready Player One earlier this year. I suppose that tells you what kinds of books I can really get sucked into—young adult adventures with a dash of alternative reality. I mean, I do read all kinds of books: I purposefully force myself to read a wide variety of genres, but this is the kind I quickly devour.
Not sure why I put off cracking The Graveyard Book since I knew from the inside flap description that I was going to like it. The story follows a young boy from toddlerhood to adulthood (older-teen-hood?) as he grows up in a graveyard, raised by ghosts. His family is murdered when he is a baby (no spoiler there; that is the opening scene) and he toddles to a graveyard where two old ghosts by the last name Owens decide to raise him. They name him Nobody, and he goes by Bod for short. While growing, Bod learns life lessons not unlike a normal boy would learn, but just in a different way.
Bod’s other guardian is a man named Silas. Silas is a mysterious person whose true nature is revealed bit by bit until the climax of the book. Something I liked about this book was that instead of spending a lot of time providing background information, details, and nitty gritty on things like, “What makes ghosts and ghouls different? What is the layout of the graveyard? What kind of trees are there?” (Think Harry Potter, and the encyclopedic fictional knowledge the reader comes away with) the reader is just dropped down into the story and things (concepts, creatures) just are. And it doesn’t detract from the story, in fact it makes things move along much more quickly, hoping the reader doesn’t get distracted by not knowing specifics on something.
Yes, the book takes place in a graveyard, and the majority of supporting characters are ghosts, but I wouldn’t call it a scary book. There are a few creepy (maybe even scary) parts, but each chapter is pretty short. I don’t know how 10 year old Staci would have reacted, but Younger Me read some books with some scary parts and I turned out just fine. Knowing that it was loosely based on Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book adds a fun element to the reading experience as well. I haven’t read The Jungle Book but I saw the Disney animated movie (I know, not nearly the same thing), but I was able to draw at least one connection to the movie—Bod’s caper with the ghouls definitely reminds me of when Mowgli gets kidnapped by King Louie and the apes.
I read Stardust, by the same author (aaaages ago, before the movie came out) and zoomed through it. I guess it’s a safe bet that I’d like other Neil Gaiman books, so I will definitely have to see what else my local library has.
This month, another shift of gears. Our book club seems to be jumping around from genre to genre each month, and that is one of my favorite things about it, I think.
Thanks to a circumstance of “right place, right time” (the book was on sale for $1.99 at the time) we chose Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham. You might know Lauren Graham better as Lorelai on Gilmore Girls! I was looking for something lighter since Unknown Americans was really heavy and The Graveyard Book was kind of creepy, and November has the potential to be a busy month, and the book literally fell into my
lap inbox via a BookBub daily email. Oh, and don’t forget… the new Gilmore Girls episodes come to Netflix on Black Friday!
5 thoughts on ““The Graveyard Book” Review and November Selection!”
This seems to be a good one! Thank you for sharing!
I loved this book so much more than I expected to. I wish I’d started it sooner.
Same! I like that it was short. Maybe I should read a Gaiman book every October :) Since posting this, I’ve had lots of people recommend American Gods.
Dude! I love that you mentioned how not everything needed an encyclopedia’s worth of explanation, Gaiman just presents them like they are. It did make a few things confusing until you look at the context and figure out what they are, but I liked it as well. It didn’t occur to me that this book is based off of The Jungle Book but now I totally see it! The ending scene where he goes back into the real world gave me goose bumps, it was so inspiring and bittersweet just like the ending scene of The Jungle Book *wipes a tear*. There were so many themes I loved about this book and I feel like it captures the essence of how it feels to grow up, and the life lessons that you learn along the way. I think they are pretty universal.