It’s been six years since I’ve read this book. Looking at my previous review, I cringe. It’s like I’m looking at an awkward middle school photo. How could I’ve been so naïve, so painfully eager? (I mean did you see all those exclamation points?) A lot has happened in those six years. I’ve…well, grown up.
There’s a sort of beautiful symmetry here as this book is also about growing up. After a baby boy’s family is killed, the ghosts of the graveyard decide to adopt him and name him Nobody “Bod” Owens. The book then chronicles his childhood growing up amongst the headstones. (Sort of like a supernatural, PG Boyhood
, except that the book was written while the movie was still in the beginning stages.)
I still love the book. It’s delightfully creepy, yet full of heart and adventure. Only Gaiman can turn a graveyard into something that you’re sad to leave. Gaiman also knows exactly what to show and what to hide, giving just enough background information to understand the overarching storyline but not too much as to detract from the story of Bod. Gaiman truly is master storyteller.
When I first read this book, I was only just realizing this. The only other Gaiman book I had read was Coraline
. It’s hard for me to believe, honestly. So much has changed since then. And now reading this book again has put me in a very reflective mood. It makes me think of my childhood, before and after I read this book.
And in a way, I think that’s the point of this novel: to make you think about the changes, the developments that happen throughout childhood. What makes a person who they are. There are plenty of books (and films) that do this, but only Gaiman can do this with a graveyard.
Amazing book! I love it! No wonder it won the Newbery Medal! It was so so so so good!!!(view spoiler)[At first I thought that this book is more of a collection of short stories then a whole book. I mean something different happens to him each chapter. From meeting Scarlett at age five, to almost becoming a ghoul at age six. From meeting a dead witch at age seven to dancing the Macabre (the dance of the dead and the living) at age eight. From scaring and haunting bullies at age eleven to beating the group of Jacks (Jacks of All Trades) that killed his family and tried to kill him at age fourteen. Everything seems unrelated. But the beauty of it all is that everything is related. Everything that happened to Bod throughout the book came together in some way or another in the second to last chapter. That is the test to see if someone is a truly good writer, is that if they can tie together seeming unrelated stories to make a wonderful end to a book. Well, since Neil Gaiman did that perfectly in this story, he's a good writer. Yeah!
This story is beautifully written. I love the world that Gaiman has created. It's so imaginative and just wonderful. The book flows in a magnificent wave and just makes me go limp with joy. I love this book.
Nobody Owens. Only Gaiman would name a character Nobody. But it fits so perfectly doesn't? I mean he lives in a graveyard; he has all the powers of a ghost ("Fading" which is to slip from view, "Fear" which is to make someone scared out of their wits, "Dreamwalking" which is to walk into another's dream and create nightmares, and more). And when he goes to school he's totally unnoticed. So Nobody is very fitting, isn't it?
I love watching Bod growing up. Each chapter Bod is older, so you really get to see him learn and grow up almost as if you were his parent, watching him mature and learn and do things. I was so cool! You rarely get to see a character grow up. Usually they are one age and stay that age throughout the book, but not in this one. Things aren't just happening to Bod at one point in his life, they're happening all throughout. And that's part of what makes the book so good. You get to know Bod as he learns and mature, throughout his life and not just in one part of it. I love it.
My favorite part of the book was when Bod goes to school. I love the fact that no one knows or notices him. He's just a fly on the wall, a shadow in the corner of the library or the back to the class. I know that it's Silas was doings, to make sure he was safe in the outside world. It's just makes him so mysterious and dark. And he helps that image by scaring the bullies. When he talked to them, he seemed so suave, so confident, so frighting. I couldn't help but swoon a little. He fought against these bullies using "Dreamwalking", "Fear", "Fade" and more of his ghostly powers. That last part when he "haunted" one of the bullies was so eerie it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Okay I'll admit it, if Bod was at my school and I noticed him and knew what he could and would do, I would totally have a crush on him. What can I say? I'm a sucker for the dark, frighting, good, and mysterious type.
It was sad when Bod had to leave the graveyard, very, very sad. He had lived there all his life, and had always belonged there and was able to go back to it and call it home. He had always known and talked to ghosts and been able to ghost things that when he started to lose those it things, sadness just started to settle in my heart. "Poor Bod!" I wanted to cry. But Bod didn't seem very sad. I mean I bet he was, but less then I thought he would be. I think it was because he was ready to move on, to explore the world outside, the world of the living. As the old saying goes, "When doors close, others open" or something like that.... (hide spoiler)]
The drawing just adding to the wonder of the book. I loved them. Dave McKean (the person who did the drawings) draws in a quirky style that just fits Neil Gaiman's writing so perfectly it's almost as if they were made for each other. I love the drawings, just like the ones in Coraline
who were also by Dave McKean.
I'm so so glad that I read this book. I almost didn't. The only reason I did was because it won the Newbery Medal and it was by the same author of Coraline
. Like so many books, the summary doesn't do it justice.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>