Coming of Age In A Dead Place

14 12 2011

I’m going to be honest here, I was a bit dishonest just now. Honestly.

I’m not actually reading The Graveyard Book right now. I’m done with it. Have been for a few months. However, I feel I should help spread the word on this one.

It’s a book about Nobody. Nobody Owens, a young boy who lost his parents when he was just a child barely able to toddle. Yet in the middle of the night, pursued by a knife-wielding mad man, he finds someone to take him in. And it’s not just one someone. They say it takes a village to raise a child but for Nobody Owens it takes a graveyard. He grows up under the watchful eyes  of the supernatural. Ghouls, ghosts and agents of an ancient world order abound in another brilliant tale spun by the imagination of Neil Gaiman.

And he does a phenomenal job. It’s a young adult novel but I loved it nonetheless. The story is well-crafted and offers enough to be enjoyed even by adults. I loved the Silas character – wouldn’t mind reading more of what he does when he’s away from the graveyard. The evolution of Nobody as he grows from a young boy to a, well… less young boy is well done. One of my favorite things about Nobody growing up is seeing him entering school. His contradicting ‘history’ as taught by the teacher was brilliant. He learned it from the ghosts, people who experienced it first hand; the two don’t mesh and that causes problems.

The attention to detail makes me smile.

It flows. The characters make sense even though they don’t receive the same sort of development you might see in a lengthier novel, I’m still giving a flying ferret about what’s going on with them. The graveyard folk are relatable. Even the ghost of the little witch who reminds me…of my mother.

The plot proceeds at an excellent pace. There’s little in the way of chop. And everything was tied together nicely by the books close. The Indigo Man, the ghouls – they were all addressed. The pages make you take pause and think about what it means to be family and how sometimes even our closest ties are not by blood.

I’ve yet to run into anything Gaiman has written that I haven’t enjoyed. The graphic novels (Sandman is bloody brilliant) were fantastic stories and even his short story collections refused to disappoint. And on top of it all he even had a hand in the development of one of the Discworld series of novels penned primarily by Sir Terry Pratchett. (A genius for another date) The graveyard book is a great addition to the library of anybody (or even someone like Nobody) who enjoys a good supernatural read.

SO – go to a bookstore and buy it. Or borrow it from a friend to read and THEN go buy it because you enjoyed it so much. OR download it. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and whatever other sort of digital giant is out there are guaranteed to carry it. Or, or you could uh – wait… I think I ran out of methods of purchase. Let me see, brick and mortar, digital download… Yeah, it’s all there. Point is: buy it.

And while you’re at it, maybe you might want to drop by his blog and see what else Gaiman has cooking. I promise you will not be disappointed.

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