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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book (edition 2008)

by Neil Gaiman, Dave Mckean (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,398884200 (4.19)1 / 1008
Title:The Graveyard Book
Authors:Neil Gaiman
Other authors:Dave Mckean (Illustrator)
Info:HarperCollins (2008), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library, Read in 2012 (inactive)
Tags:'12, Fantasy, YA/children's, Vampires, May eventually give away, Newbery Medal, Didn't review

Work details

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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Showing 1-5 of 869 (next | show all)
I am pretty much in love with Neil Gaiman now. If the lovely book hadn't done so, his Newbery acceptance speech pretty much clinched it.

"We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best as we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write."

That just warms my hard little heart. ( )
  amy_marie26 | Sep 8, 2014 |
Probably my favorite Gaiman book. The Graveyard book takes place in a graveyard. It is about a little boy who is taken in by the characters of the graveyard and his journey from infancy to adulthood. It is well written, intriguing, and entertaining - even if it is rather dark at times. I think that it is obvious to say that it is paranormal fiction, but there are ghosts and hounds of god and the like. ( )
  alb2219 | Sep 5, 2014 |
I had to struggle through the first 30 pages, and I almost put the book down. Something about the Disney-like beginning made me feel as though this book wasn't for me. I sat there and thought about all the unanswered questions I had: What was the shadowy organization that wanted the child and his family killed? What was the man Jack's motivations? Who was the spooky protector Silas? How does the boy(Nobody Owens) grow up?
I said to myself that I would read on until page 50, maybe something would pick up. And almost immediately it did, and I was quite happy. There is a rather wonderful Lovecraftian excursion into an underworld realm of ghouls and flying gaunts with a blood red dead sun and an abandoned city with impossible geometry that the ghouls have made their home. Like Lovecraft, it isn't exactly scary as it is deeply weird.
The rest of the questions were answered slowly, and mostly near the end, but in ways that didn't really satisfy me - they were rather expected, in fact had a really strong Tim Hunter/Books of Magic feel to them: the mysterious guide that is initiating our young hero into a magickal world is at deadly odds with a sinister faction that wants our hero killed because he is special/chosen. His maturation was interesting, but I wanted to see Nobody mature into someone capable of walking the line between the living and the dead, and the book completely drops the ball on this. The clean slate that he ends the book on is entirely unsatisfying.
So, it's well written, and the mix of characters and setting is compelling, but the story leaves me rather cold.
3 stars oc is the best I can give it.

Well, the more I think about the way that various conflicts are "resolved", I realize I can't actually go above a 2.5 ( )
  starcat | Aug 11, 2014 |
The Graveyard Book is about an infant boy that luckily wanders into the safety of a graveyard while a murderer is hunting him after killing the rest of his family. The ghosts of the graveyard adopt him, and raise him within the walls and gates of the graveyard. As suspected, he does not live the normal life of a regular boy with living parents. His adopted parents, being dead, cannot provide for him the needs that he requires as a living person, so Silas, a mysterious man that seems to be in limbo of the living and the dead, accepts to be his guardian and tend to the boy's needs. The boy is nicknamed Bod, short for Nobody, and his life in the graveyard is filled with monstrous adventures, ghostly lessons, and lots of heart break.

This is my first time reading anything written by Neil Gaiman, and I have to say, I am not disappointed. It's not the fastest read I've had, considering how short it actually is. I kept finding myself putting the book down and forgetting about it every now and then, but the moment I'd pick it up again, I'd be hook once more. As for the writing style, amazing. It was so fairy tale-like and whimsical, though dark and sinister and the same time. There were occasions where I was reminded a bit of Lemony Snicket's style of writing. The way the boy was sometimes described and the adventures he'd get into, along with the random definitions of simple words I'd come across throughout the book is what really reminded me of Snicket. Other than that though, the entire style was unique and intriguing.

My favorite characters were Bod, and Liza Hempstock. I loved bod because of the way he handled his emotions, and basically the brave little person he became. He had great character development. Liza was simply awesome because of her witchy-sassiness. I think they made a great pair of friends.

I don't think I disliked anything about this book. It was just all around really great. I fell in love with every single character, I hated the villain, there was a twist towards the end, there's action, there's horror, there's magic, and there's sadness.
I will admit, my heart broke at the end, and I cried. It's not exactly a spoiler, but you have been warned!

I definitely recommend this book, and I hope that everyone who reads it enjoys it as much as I did. I've jumped onto the Gaiman Train and I will absolutely be reading more of his books in the future. ( )
1 vote nikkiplusbooks | Aug 1, 2014 |
It's an okay book and very weird.After finishing the book I am feeling unsatisfied.

None of the mysteries of the story was answered properly.What were the "Jack" men really?It was not answered properly.The prophecy about the boy was neither very impressive.And what kind of guarding Silas really do,it was not answered either.A boy lived in a graveyard for 15 years of his life and then he suddenly took off on his own to the outside world without the adequate knowledge about it.How is he going to survive, I have no idea.
Well over all a mysterious book which remains mysterious even after finishing it. ( )
  sreeparna | Jul 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 869 (next | show all)
Gaiman writes with charm and humor, and again he has a real winner.
added by lampbane | editVOYA, Rayna Patton (Jul 24, 2009)
Gaiman's narratives tend toward the episodic, and there are chapters of The Graveyard Book that could stand alone as discrete short stories. All the better for reading at bedtime, though, and what's lost in forward momentum is more than made up for by the outrageous riches of Gaiman's imagination
added by timspalding | editGuardian, Patrick Ness (Oct 25, 2008)
Like a bite of dark Halloween chocolate, this novel proves rich, bittersweet and very satisfying.
This is fine work, from beginning to end, and the best bedtime story read-aloud material I've encountered in a long time. Can't wait until my daughter's old enough to read this to.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Oct 10, 2008)
While “The Graveyard Book” will entertain people of all ages, it’s especially a tale for children. Gaiman’s remarkable cemetery is a place that children more than anyone would want to visit. They would certainly want to look for Silas in his chapel, maybe climb down (if they were as brave as Bod) to the oldest burial chamber, or (if they were as reckless) search for the ghoul gate. Children will appreciate Bod’s occasional mistakes and bad manners, and relish his good acts and eventual great ones. The story’s language and humor are sophisticated, but Gaiman respects his readers and trusts them to understand.

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neil Gaimanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Iacobaci, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKean, DaveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parpola, InkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Plouhinec, Valérie LeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riddell, ChrisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Rattle his bones
Over the stones
It's only a pauper
Who nobody owns

-- Traditional Nursery Rhyme
First words
There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.
Fortinbras Bartleby, ten years old when he had died (of consumption, he had told Bod, who had mistakenly believed for several years that Fortinbras had been eaten by lions or bears, and was extremely disappointed to learn it was merely a disease), now apologized to Bod.
“You’re always you, and that doesn’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Nehemiah Trot said, “Ah, list to me, young Leander, young Hero, young Alexander. If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”
“And for that reason, if for no other, it is vital that the child be raised with as little disruption as possible to the, if you’ll forgive the expression, the life of the graveyard.”
"It's like the people who believe they'll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn't work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you." p. 104
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060530928, Hardcover)

In The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman has created a charming allegory of childhood. Although the book opens with a scary scene--a family is stabbed to death by "a man named Jack” --the story quickly moves into more child-friendly storytelling. The sole survivor of the attack--an 18-month-old baby--escapes his crib and his house, and toddles to a nearby graveyard. Quickly recognizing that the baby is orphaned, the graveyard's ghostly residents adopt him, name him Nobody ("Bod"), and allow him to live in their tomb. Taking inspiration from Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Gaiman describes how the toddler navigates among the headstones, asking a lot of questions and picking up the tricks of the living and the dead. In serial-like episodes, the story follows Bod's progress as he grows from baby to teen, learning life’s lessons amid a cadre of the long-dead, ghouls, witches, intermittent human interlopers. A pallid, nocturnal guardian named Silas ensures that Bod receives food, books, and anything else he might need from the human world. Whenever the boy strays from his usual play among the headstones, he finds new dangers, learns his limitations and strengths, and acquires the skills he needs to survive within the confines of the graveyard and in wider world beyond. (ages 10 and up) -–Heidi Broadhead

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:42 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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