The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
It takes a graveyard to raise a child.
Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family.
Some writers have flawless technique, while others a bright imagination through a blessed connection with the ether. But few – only the really great – have both. Gaiman is one of those rare people; he has both a mastery over his craft and a radiant imagination. The Graveyard Book has adventure, plot, beautiful prose, likeable characters and a humble, yet positive message.
For most of the book, I would have been happy to stay and explore the graveyard and continue to meet interesting and eccentric ghosts. I cared little about plot, mostly because I enjoyed following the main character, Bod, as he explored every dark and mysterious corner of his graveyard home. But as Bod grew and became more curious about the world outside, so did I. This is a perfect example of Gaiman’s mastery over his craft. He makes the reader completely sympathetic to Bod’s development into a young man, while at the same time slowly revealing the world outside the graveyard gates. The plot picks up when Bod pushes onward into adulthood. The death of his family and the man who wants to kill him were always in the background. But I didn’t care about the guy that killed Bod’s family at the beginning of the story; I was too busy enjoying his boyhood adventures. That’s the magic that so few writers have – to engulf you in a story so completely, that your own awareness mirrors the character’s.
The last couple of paragraphs of the book are beautiful. I reread them multiple times before finally shutting off my Kindle– drunk with the inspiration to begin a new journey.
Thank you, Neil – if I may call you that – for another grand adventure.
*Quick note about my reviews* I am no longer rating books with stars – it just feels silly ;)