Ch_hayley Medsker's Reviews > The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
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's review
Feb 20, 10

bookshelves: fantasy-sci-fi
Read from February 08 to 17, 2010

In Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, be prepared to have many questions unanswered. The story line is as follows: A man named "Jack" breaks into a home in England, killing off nearly everyone in the family, except the toddler, that has escaped from his crib and wanders out of the home to the graveyard up the hill. While the man Jack searches and hunts for the boy for many years, the boy spends his youth guarded in the graveyard by its residents. The boy, who is given the name Nobody Owens, "Bod" for short, is raised by a ghostly couple, the Owens. He's also given a caretaker named Silas, who walks the line between life and death, the reader is never quite told what sort of creature he is. Bod spends his days in the graveyard learning from the dead. Bod is also taught the secrets of ghost-hood, how to "fade" away, perform spells, and he learns the ins and outs of the other realm. Yet, Bod is a relatively down to earth and rational boy. He of course, is curious to learn what life is like beyond the graveyard, and is granted permission from his caretaker to attend school. Bod embarks on several adventures in the book; sucked into ghoul gates, meeting new friends and foes at school, balancing a unique life between the living and the dead. He faces several challenges, and in the end, is faced with the biggest challenge of all. Bod is released from the confines of the graveyard, and is free to explore life outside the gates.
However, as stated previously, many unanswered questions leave the reader feeling lost, unsatisfied, or disconnected from the book. There are points in the storyline that don't quite flow, and events are scattered. While Gaiman is remarkably creative and provides the reader with fantastic mental imaging, there are parts in the storyline that a reader just can't quite embrace or visualize. Whether this is due to my own inability to be as imaginative as the author in my visualizations or lack of detail and ambiguity in the novel, is uncertain. Yet, after reading, I learned that the book actually took six years to write. Could it be the time frame it took to write the book that leaves the disconnect in plot? Or perhaps a publishers influence to "finish up" the book?
Either way, Gaiman can be commended for crafting such an impressive and imaginative novel, a category of its own. I can see where kids ages 10 to teens would love this book. The ending left some unsatisfied, but to me, it leaves an open ending, allowing Gaiman to create a sequel beyond the graveyard.

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Comments (showing 1-1)

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Ruth I agree with your analysis of the ending for this book in that it could lead to subsequent books, and yes, there were some questions unanswered (e.g., where did Silas go next, who was he, was he vampire, guardian angel...?). However, I felt that the lessons learned by Bod in each chapter, all through relationships developed or strengthed with various cementary inhabitant completely tied into the ending as he needed each skill to overcome his big "problem."

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