The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman Chris RiddellI had been waiting impatiently for this book to be published and then after I had bought it, cataloged and processed so that I could read it. I had previously read a short story by Neil Gaiman, I think it was in his collection of stories, M is for magic, and was intrigued with the idea of life in a graveyard.

Through a series of misfortunes and good luck a baby finds itself alone in the graveyard at night. His family is dead and the murderer is now seeking to kill him. Lucky for the baby, the ghostly inhabitants of the graveyard take him under their protection. After much debate the baby is adopted and given the name Nobody Owens, Bod for short.

Growing up in a Graveyard has distinct possibilities for adventures and unusual friends. Neil Gaiman does have some fun with his characters, but I’m not sure that he fully explores some of his ideas. I sometimes felt the book was a bit disjointed, almost reading more like a collection of short stories than a novel in it’s own right. I think this was due to the book covering so many years, from Bod’s babyhood to the moment he is ready to go out into the world on his own as a young adult.

I enjoyed the book immensely, although I would have liked to know more about Silas, Bod’s brooding-not-dead-but-not-alive-either guardian! The book won the Newbery Medal 2009 and is very different to anything else on the market at the moment. I recommend the book for youngish readers who are looking for something different but with a bit of a chill factor – not too scary, but a definite chill.