I just finished reading The Graveyard Book, which I found in the children’s section of my library, and I started to read it, sitting comfortably in a sunny window seat, while my two year-old played with blocks and puzzles (I love my library), and thought to myself, “it doesn’t get much better than this”.
I don’t know why, but I always feel guilty when I finish a Neil Gaiman book (this is my third and a half — I didn’t finish one) and find that I didn’t LOVE it. I guess I feel like I’m SUPPOSED to love his stuff…but I just don’t. I like it just fine, but I don’t love it. I like him enough that I’ve continued to pick up more of his books, but not enough to call myself a “fan”, or to finish the one book that I put aside when I lost interest.
The Graveyard Book tells the story of Nobody “Bod” Owens, an orphaned baby who’s entire family was brutally murdered by “the Man Jack” in the first pages of the story. Bod crawls out of his crib and up the hill to the local graveyard, where the ghosts who rest there (along with Silas, the undead caretaker) promise his murdered family that they will look after the boy and protect him from Jack.
Bod grows from a baby to a young man, having adventures both inside and outside of the graveyard, with both the living and the dead. And he always has the Man Jack in the back of his mind, and Bod wonders how and when he can get revenge for what Jack did to his family.
While I enjoyed the story of Bod’s youth and education in the graveyard, I didn’t love it. I wanted to be dazzled and delighted, as so many others seem to be by Gaiman, and that’s how I think I’m supposed to feel when I’m reading his books. But I certainly didn’t hate it. It was an enjoyable and realistic (once you get past the ghosts, etc.) coming of age story, and one that I’d recommend to Bunnybean in a few years (at 7 years old, I don’t think she could handle the murder of the family).
FYI, the book I never finished was American Gods, and I do intend to try it again someday…I keep hoping that one of the books will be the ONE for me.