Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Graveyard Book


The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, won the Newbery Medal for 2009, so I had high hopes.  While those hopes weren't dashed by any means, they weren't lived up to.  The book starts out as a murder-mystery (which makes me question its genre as Children's literature, but who am I to judge?) and I was hooked.

This is the story of Nobody "Bod" Owens, a toddler who escaped from the man who killed his family and is taken in by the occupants of the local graveyard - a hodgepodge of ghosts and spirits.  Bod is well cared for and brought food by his guardian, Silas, who is not quite of the spirit world, but not of the human world, either.

Eventually, of course, Bod must come face to face with his family's murderer, and I have to say there was an unexpected and greatly appreciated twist concerning that.  But I found the middle part of the book was a bit boring.  It seemed like Gaiman was trying to pass the time between Bod's toddler years until he was old enough to face off against his nemesis.  There were a few bits of information or experiences that were important later on, but as a whole I thought it could have been a bit more exciting.  The climax, however, was great, and the ending was emotional, so that definitely brought it back up to the expectations I had in the beginning.

Maybe I'm being overly critical.  It has been awhile since I've read Children's literature, and I'm guessing this book is just right for a lot of kids - mystery, suspense, a coming-of-age tale where the main character feels what kids his age feel - but for me, it wasn't my favorite.  Good, but not great.

3.5 out of 5 stars

2 comments:

  1. hello..may i ask what is the climax of that story..i can't seem to tell..please reply

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  2. Well, I don't want to give anything away (read: if you don't want spoilers, STOP READING!) but the climax of the story is when Bod fights the Jacks not only for his life, but his friend's as well. That scene in the graveyard is what the entire book was leading up to.

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