Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

One night, a man named Jack set out to kill a family. He killed the father and the mother and the young daughter. When he went to kill the 2-year-old son, he found the child missing. The boy had left his crib, escaped from the house, and made his way to a nearby graveyard. The ghosts of the people buried in the graveyard protected the boy from the man Jack. Then they banded together to raise him.
This is the beginning of the story of Nobody Owens. He is son to Mr. and Mrs. Owens, a proper dead couple and under the guardianship of the mysterious Silas. Nobody has the power of the graveyard, an ability to see all the ghosts, to see in the dark, and to enter anyplace that live people normally cannot.

The Graveyard Book tells several stories that occur as Nobody grows. Inside the cemetery, he meets another living child named Scarlett, whom he encounters later on in the book, and he gets into some trouble with a group of ghouls. Later on, he faces troubles from the world outside the graveyard. There's a scrape with danger inside of a consignment shop and a load of trouble stems from attempts to attend school. Throughout all of these adventures, the man Jack is still alive and still hunting for Nobody. Jack is the reason Nobody is never safe outside of the graveyard, but a living boy cannot remain among the dead forever.

I was a little nervous to read The Graveyard Book for the same reason I get nervous watching "Dead Like Me": I don't like thinking about death. The Graveyard Book was far more focused on living, though:
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've made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.

I enjoyed the book a lot, though I like every Neil Gaiman book I have read. I considered the Jacks to be really intriguing and kind of wish we knew more about them. I also recommend hearing the book from the author himself. Neil Gaiman read a chapter when he spoke in my city recently. I'm definitely a Gaiman fan and look forward to reading lots more of his work.

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