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Grimes & Rowe Read a Book: The Graveyard Book

By Storycarnivores @storycarnivores

Grimes & Rowe Read a Book: The Graveyard BookTitle: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Series: N/A
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: September 30, 2008
Genre: Middle Grade
Pages: 320
Source: Bought
Buy the Book: The Graveyard Book

Description: Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family. . . .

Brian: Ever since Shaunta revealed last summer that her favorite author was the eclectic and inspiring (check out his amazing commencement address here) Neil Gaiman, I’ve been excited to check out his work. I don’t know how I grew up somehow avoiding anything this great man has written, but I did. I saw and enjoyed both Stardust and Coraline, still not paying enough attention. Finally this year I’ve done my research and now it’s time to read some Neil Gaiman. I have Coraline waiting for me at home, and I plan on tackling his thick adult novel American Gods in the near future. But which one did I start with? Halloween was coming, so Shaunta and I decided to make his new award-winning novel The Graveyard Book our Book Club Book for October. And what a delight this book was. I was taken with this unique story from the first chapter on, falling instantly in love with the main character Bod and his ghoulish gaggle of ghostly guardians. I was creeped out by the man Jack and his quest to kill off Bod. The ending is super moving, and the illustrations by Dave McKean are gorgeous. This was the perfect book for Halloween.

Shaunta: One of my family’s legends is that my Grandma Ann, who was an amazing artist, worked as a colorist for Disney on The Jungle Book, so I feel a connection to the Rudyard Kipling story. I read The Jungle Book as a little girl, and it was a favorite. I’ve developed, over the years, a fascination with feral children and the idea of being raised outside the norm. So, when I saw that The Graveyard Book is basically, The Jungle Book in a graveyard, with ghosts instead of animals, I was completely charmed. I would have wanted to read it, even if Neil Gaiman (who really is my favorite author) hadn’t written it. Neil Gaiman did write it though, and that means that it is full of awesome. Bod Owens is a quirk, cool character. The kind you want to know. I adored Silas, the part-creepy, part-pillar-of-security guardian as well. The Jacks of All Trades were incredible villains. I actually cried at the end of the story, which doesn’t happen to me often. Aside from the great story, my copy of the book had a reprint of the author’s Newberry Award acceptance speech. I loved reading that he’d had the idea for 20 years, and it took him that long to become a good enough writer to do it justice.

Grimes & Rowe Read a Book: The Graveyard Book

Brian: I also love that Gaiman got the idea for this book in the 80′s, recognized he needed more time to hone his craft, and waited until 2005 before he tackled the project (he should feel lucky another writer didn’t come up with the idea in the interim!). The novel he would have written in the 80′s probably would have been fun, too, but it probably wouldn’t have had the power that the version he eventually wrote does. One element to this book I found unique was that it’s written almost like eight short stories, all with beginnings, middles, and endings. I typically might question this kind of storytelling, but it works here because it allows us to see Bod grow, both literally and figuratively. This book was funny and creepy and charming, and it even made me want to traipse through a few graveyards! I’m looking forward to checking out more of Gaiman’s work. This was a lot of fun.

Shaunta: Tons of fun. Anyone who has never read Neil Gaiman, this is a good place to start I think. You’ll fall in love with Bod, shed a few tears with him, laugh a lot with him. It’s an easy, really enjoyable read. I loved reading this so close to Halloween and our shared birthday, Brian. It was the perfect book of the month for October! Enjoy the trailer below, narrated by the author.

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