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Sunday 20 February 2011

Hangin' in the Graveyard ★★★★

Now, this isn't a post about hanging around in graveyards and acting a bit weird. It is about Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book.

Sorry the lighting isn't great, it is really overcast here today.
p.s. check the knitting in the background, sneak peeks of what I have on the needles!

Let me just set the scene for me reading this book for a second.
I believe I started this book about a year ago. If you look at my list you will see a lot of Neil Gaiman on it, and that is because I read both Stardust and American Gods and LOVED them! No joke, they are some of my favourite books, ever. So of course I read some more of his, and then when I was working at Waterstone's the christmas before last I bought them all so I would have my own copies. That is the sort of thing I do, and why I have such a huge list of unread books!
I think The Graveyard Book was the second one that I read out of the new copies I bought, and I got about half way through, (page 156, thank you Read More app on my iPhone) and I stopped. I can't remember why because I really love this book, I imagine I just got distracted by something new and shiny which happens a lot with me.

So, the book. It tells the tale of Nobody Owens, a boy whose family are murdered and he escapes as a toddler to the graveyard at the end of the street where he is gifted the 'friend of the graveyard' honor and raised by a family of ghosts. I know, sounds strange, and bear in mind that this is a book which is marketed for the teenage kind of age range but adults could definitely read and enjoy it. It is a classic coming of age/mystery story, with a twist.

There is a definite murder mystery plot line as the person who murdered Bod's living family is still looking for him, and not only that but he doesn't know who he really is. He doesn't know what his name was, who his family were, what happened to them or how he ended up in the graveyard and Bod begins to discover the answers to these questions as the book progresses.
It is a coming of age story in that it details the many difficulties Bod has with living in a graveyard, he is constantly outside of the norms of his world; when in the graveyard he isn't dead, so he isn't quite a part of that world, and when in the real world he still retains some of the secret benefits of being a friend of the graveyard so he also isn't a normal kid.

My copy of the book also had the most amazing illustrations by Dave McKean in it. I'm not sure if they all do, but my Bloomsbury 2010 edition did, and I just had to take a quick picture to show you these because I think they are wonderful and really capture the atmosphere that the graveyard in the book creates.

Again, sorry about the lighting.

Now Neil Gaiman has said that this book was influenced and inspired by Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Books, which I haven't read. This book is really good to just read, and I found it really fun, It has great characters and the details about the graveyard are just great, the plot is equally exciting, with twists and turns that keep you reading with a pleasant little smile on your face. I think however that it would be even more interesting if you have read The Jungle Books. That might just be because I am rather fond of over analysing literature, but I think it would be interesting to see how Gaiman has updated each little story.

Over all, a great read, especially if you want something which is fun while being smart and informed. I would definitely recommend it for teenagers as it has those fun weird elements that they seem to like, and there is enough action to keep them reading. Plus if you give it to a teenager, you can read it once they are done!


Next time look out for a review of Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, which was the book I read before starting the challenge. I can tell you now, that will be a five starred one!

A/N: If you have checked the reading list page recently, you might have noticed that I have changed the "Week X" bit next to the books I have read to just "Book X". Following my last post, I received even more work at university, so instead of setting a book each week (as I am clearly not managing that) I am just listing them in order that I read them. I am still hoping to read 52 books, and I am not going to buy any other books etc, I am just not going to try and force myself to read a book a week. It just isn't feasible at the moment, and this was supposed to be fun, not a chore.

1 comment :

  1. I loved Neil Gaiman's Stardust, so I'd definitely give this one a go.


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