Gaiman’s ‘The Graveyard Book,’ is not just for children
Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Updated: Thursday, March 1, 2012 00:03
In the dead of night, on a quiet street somewhere in England, a family is murdered in their sleep by a mysterious man.
The youngest, a mere toddler, manages to escape his crib and wanders out the open front door and up the street to the entrance of a graveyard. The mysterious man follows closely, ready to finish his job.
However, a kind woman spirit takes notice of the child's impending danger, and – at the further behest of the child's mother's spirit – rescues him.
This is how Nobody Owens came to be raised in a graveyard. Or, rather, raised by a graveyard. The kind woman (Mrs. Owens) is not the only spirit present, and she convinces many of the others to help care for "the live boy," as they call him.
Widely recognized for his supernatural fiction, Neil Gaiman stays true to his reputation and creates yet another alluring, inspiring fantastical world in his novel "The Graveyard Book."
Fans of his previous works, such as "Neverwhere" or "The Sandman" series, will find an enjoyable familiarity of imaginative characters, as well as other creations, in this work.
Nobody, or Bod for short, grows into a fearless boy with a real sense of adventure. His story takes the reader along with him for many explorations, though he never strays far from the graveyard.
Through trials in escaping ghouls and triumphs in ancient pagan burial mounds, Bod follows a personal path of self-discovery and acceptance.
He is aided not only by his spirit-parents, but also a dark and brooding guardian named Silas, not quite a spirit himself, who has secrets of his own.
Inevitably, Bod will be forced to face his family's mysterious murderer, and Silas and the others fight hard to protect and to prepare him.
Truly a world of its own, this book will take any reader far away from the reality of campus life to a place where anything is possible, and good can always be trusted over evil.
However, good may not be as familiar in this story as in others – the graveyard is full of ghosts, witches and werewolves, but it is the force of a group of men from the outside world that threatens Bod.
The frightening creatures of his home teach him love, selflessness, and a deep appreciation for knowledge and discovery.
Though it may appear to possess some adult themes, the novel is actually one of the few of Gaiman's that is geared toward all ages.
It is a tale filled with the adventure of discovery, at the heart of which is a coming-of-age story to which many readers will easily to relate.
And, perhaps, they will also discover something for themselves.