[Edit: Originally published May 21, 2016]
Nobody Owens, a boy raised by ghosts. When a baby is the only survivor of a family brutally murdered in their homes, he’s taken under the wing of the ghosts of an old cemetery near his house. He is named Nobody by Mrs. Owens, the wife of Mr. Owens, and self appointed mother of Nobody, or Bod for short.
Now, with the man who killed his family still at large, Bod is, for most of his early life, confined to the graveyard. He has teachers in some of the other ghosts, and then there’s his mysterious guardian Silas as well. Silas can leave the graveyard while the other ghosts can’t, so he’s the one who’s charged with getting Bod food, among other things.
Bod has many adventures in and out of the graveyard. He has encounters with ghouls, discovers the guardian of the oldest grave in the cemetery, makes friends with a girl who comes to the graveyard, and even sneaks out of the graveyard in order to try to get a headstone for his witch friend.
This is, thus far, the only Neil Gaiman book I’ve read outside of Good Omens, which is of course, a combined effort of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Therefore, I can’t really say how The Graveyard Book compares to other things that Neil Gaiman has written on his own.
I greatly enjoyed the book. It’s creepy in the way that visiting a cemetery after dark is creepy. It’s a fun creepy that makes you want to explore more, you want to know exactly what happens to Bod, and despite the apprehension you might feel (there were several sections that had me very anxious about what would happen to Bod), you keep going.
I will always enjoy a book that has a male/female friendship that doesn’t end in romance, and Neil Gaiman delivers that in the friendship between Bod and Scarlett who visits the cemetery on a number of occasions throughout Bod’s life. At the end of the book, when Bod finally leaves the graveyard. It’s not with her, or for her. He’s just going out on his own to have his own life and adventures in the outside world. I was very pleased by that.
The book can be found here.