When I heard that Gaiman was releasing another book I was very excited and I am happy to say that this book met all of my expectations. Gaiman is such an excellent storyteller.
This book expands on one of the short stories in “M is for Magic” by Neil Gaiman. In that story we meet Bod, a boy who lives in a graveyard. This book tells about how Bod got there and of the adventures he had there. You learn more about the mysterious Jack too! In fact I believe chapter 4 or 5 of The Graveyard Book, is actually an exact reprint of this story.
The story starts with a creepy killer named Jack who kills Bod’s whole family (trust me no spoilers here, this happens in the first page); Bod as a small, curious toddler escapes to the graveyard. The book is interesting in that for the first two-thirds of the book each chapter is more of a short-story about Nobody Owens (Bod). Initially there is a large time span between each chapter and in each chapter (short-story) we learn about one of Bod’s adventures in the Graveyard. As you get towards the end of the book things happen closer together and the chapters turn into more of what you would consider a standard chapter.
It is fascinating to hear about a boy who is raised in a graveyard by ghosts. Bod develops into and strong and very interesting character, that you can’t help but love. Silas, the guardian of the graveyard, is also fascinating. Gaiman, as usual, adds an ironic touch to the story by showing how similar Bod’s issues when growing up are with any other childs.
As for being a kids’ book; for the most part the book would be okay to read to a young child. The first chapter, where Jack murders Bod’s family, I found the be extremely creepy; so I would shy away at reading this chapter to a young child. Many of the other chapters are also scary. If a child under 10 was going to read this book, I would say a parent should read through it first and then you can read it together and skip any inappropriate parts. This book, naturally, deals a ton with death and what it means to be dead.
I absolutely loved this book. I thought the age level was a bit higher than Gaiman’s Coraline. People who complain about Gaiman being too morbid, haven’t read enough Gaiman. He is like the young adult, fairy tale version of Stepan King…many of his stories are crafted to make you think and feel slightly uncomfortable. This was absolutely a wonderfully crafted story, it’s one I am keeping to add to my book collection.