The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is a book for young adults which I enjoyed immensely. The story begins with a triple homicide, the surviving child wanders into the local graveyard and is raised by ghosts. Now if that opening sequence doesn’t grab your attention, nothing will! The young protagonist, Nobody Owens, is brought up by the various ghosts who live in the graveyard and they all have a story to tell.
I enjoyed the fact that most books and films dramatize graveyards as a spooky place where sad things happen, Gaiman turns this idea on it’s head and makes the reader feel safe within the walls of the cemetery and wary of the outside world. In most graveyards, there are hundreds of people from hundreds of different backgrounds and time periods buried beneath the soil. The author used this feature brilliantly, I loved hearing the different characters deaths and ideas of life and death. They ranged from a witch burned at the stake to an ancient Celtic spirit.
Although the book starts brilliantly, I felt let down at times at the way the book meanders along towards the end point, I felt that Gaiman could have incorporated Nobody’s quest to find his parents killer more into the development of the tale. I also thought Nobody was quite a bland character, he didn’t have many personable traits, in my mind he was the perfect son. Nobody learns different ghoulish powers from various ghosts, I was thinking how I’d use such skills to other more mischievous ends!
My edition of the book was brilliantly illustrated by David McKean, only upon finishing the book I realized there is a graphic novel version produced, which I must pick up at some stage.I would recommend this book to younger teenagers as well as young adults. I enjoyed the book as an adult, it is funny and full of historical references, an aspect of which I enjoyed.