Monday, October 19, 2015

It's only death. I mean, all of my best friends are dead

Neil Gaiman, I don't know what to do with you. I can't think of another author that I have such a varied opinion on. Or maybe it's really just based on a negative first impression (American Gods) because otherwise his stuff has been pretty great. Of course maybe it's the novels that don't work. I mean, Coraline and The Graveyard Book are book children's books, Good Omens was written with another author and Neverwhere is the novelization of the TV series. The point is, I like more Gaiman than I dislike, and I should probably stop claiming that I have mixed feelings about the guy and just go with AG was not my jam, but everything else so far has been. Especially The Graveyard Book which I loved waaaaaaay more than I was expecting. Love love love love love love love.
"It is going to take more than just a couple of good-hearted souls to raise this child. It will," said Silas, "take a graveyard."
The Graveyard Book is essentially The Jungle Book. Or I guess, so I've been told, since I only know The Jungle Book from the 2 Disney versions (cartoon & live action). The story opens with a mysterious man Jack murdering a family. But he misses the little boy, who crawled out of his crib and out the door, eventually making his way to a nearby graveyard, where he's found by a ghost couple, Mr. and Mrs. Owens. They convince the rest of the graveyard to give him Freedom of the Graveyard and he's given the name Nobody "Bod" Owens.
If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.
The overarching story is about what happened to Jack's family and who is this man Jack, but the bulk of the book is made up of various adventures Bod gets into as he grows up in the graveyard. He meets a girl who comes to the graveyard, though her parents think he's just an imaginary friend. He discovers an ancient creature called a Sleer, gets captured by Ghouls, befriends the ghost of a witch, learns how to fade, and all sorts of shenanigans.
He decided not to tell anyone what he was planning, on the not entirely unreasonable basis that they would have told him not to do it.
The characters are so much fun. Bod is curious and kind. His caretaker Silas is creepy but takes his position caring for Bod seriously, the witch is demanding but watches out for Bod, and Jack is terrifying. Even if you could sort of guess how things were going to go, getting there was so much fun and there were a lot of tense moments.
There was something at the edge of Silas's lips that might have been a smile, and might have been regret, and might just have been a trick of the shadows.
I really didn't want this book to end. There may have been a few tears shed, which is not awkward at all when you're standing on the street waiting for someone to come pick you up (though at least I was out of the coffee shop by this point). I had heard great things about the book but wasn't rushing to pick it up since I figured it was a kid's book and I probably wouldn't be that into it and that is incredibly stupid of me because I could have read this so much sooner. Love love love love.

Gif rating:

Title quote from page 179, location 2138

Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard Book. HarperCollins, 2008. Kindle