Wednesday, June 6, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: The Graveyard Book -- Neil Gaiman

On a foggy night, an assassin named Jack does a deed most foul. He's killed both parents and an older sister. Now, he's bound for the nursery to kill an eighteen-month-old boy.

Surprise, the toddler isn't there. The killer searches the city to no avail.

Meanwhile, in a nearby cemetery, the inhabitants adopt a child in danger. A childless couple long dead named Owens adopt the baby. There's hot debate on what to call the child and in the end, he is dubbed "Nobody Owens" or "Bod" for short.

The Graveyard Book is the tale of how Bod survives and indeed thrives under conditions that are hostile at best. When he learns his history, he vows to seek revenge on Jack and endeavors to learn every trick in the ghostly repertoire. He's aided by Silas, the undead caretaker, the Owenses, a young witch named Liza Hempstead, who is buried in the nearby Potter's Field as a witch.

The tale's fascinating with Gaiman's unique turn of phrase. While The Graveyard Book is written for young adults, older readers will also enjoy the dark and brooding imagery and spunk of Gaiman's young hero. As a bonus, the book is illustrated by Dave McKean, who did a splendid job rendering the graveyard and its inhabitants in black and white.

Rebecca McFarland Kyle, June 2012

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