Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book
By Neil Gaiman (Author's Website)
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Published: 2008
ISBN-13: 9780747598848
289 pages

Page 280: You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

The Graveyard Book, inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book is one clever storytelling by Neil Gaiman. And if you are looking for something exciting, imaginative and adventurous, you will not be disappointed. Not forgetting magical too as there is always magic in Gaiman’s work. Garth Nix said: “I wish my younger self could have had the opportunity to read and reread this wonderful book, and my older self wishes that I had written it.”

The story opens with the man Jack coming to the house to accomplish what needs to be done: to kill the whole family. When the man Jack is done with the father, the mother and the sister, he goes to look for the fourth and youngest member—a baby boy. Before this, the baby is awaken by some crashing sound and feeling bored after being awaken, ‘plots’ for an escape from his cot. He just decides to leave the house and totters up the hill, to the graveyard.

At the graveyard, the long-dead Owen couple takes him as their own child (after a debate by the souls at the graveyards) and raise him as their own. They call him Nobody Owens or Bod for short. Bod has a guardian, too, and his name is Silas. Bod is educated by ghosts and is warned of the dangers outside the graveyard. His family killer, the man Jack is still at large, but at that point of time Bod is still unaware of his family history.

I find myself totally immersed in this book. Apart from a great story that both young and adult readers will enjoy, there are also great lessons. For example, the passage below inspires:

You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you made, dreamed your dream, written your name. (p. 165-166)

Children can learn to be obedient and listen to adults who only want what is good for them. Bod has a wonderful family and friends in the land of the dead who genuinely care for him. Neil Gaiman was not preachy when he sprinkled the good lessons through Bod’s adventures. Naturally, Bod is a curious boy, and he wants to see and experience things for himself.

I will definitely be rereading The Graveyard Book and I highly recommend it!

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