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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Neil Gaiman, Dave Mckean (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,6801020135 (4.19)1 / 1162
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 (2008)

Recently added bybruckerfamily, ebein, private library, Hank.K, mikeylelibrarian, veredi, YouKneeK, chronic, leify.gi, boardchucker
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English (1,002)  German (3)  All (2)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Hungarian (1)  Romanian (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  All (1,020)
Showing 1-5 of 1002 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed The Graveyard Book while I was reading it. The story and characters held my attention and it was a short, fast read. Having finished it, I do wish there had been more meat to it. The story had a reasonably satisfying if bittersweet end, but there were things that could have been fleshed out better and I wish the book had a sequel or two. I’d really like to see the characters again and find out what happens next for them. It feels like I was with them for too short of a time.

The story begins just after the parents and older sister of the main character, Nobody, have been murdered. Nobody is a toddler when the book begins, oblivious to what’s going on, and the only reason he isn’t murdered with the rest of his family is because he has a tendency to escape his crib and wander off. Since the murderer left the door to the house open, Nobody is able to wander out of the house and up the hill to a graveyard where he’s protected and raised by the dead who inhabit the graveyard. The author was inspired by The Jungle Book, which explains the title.

One particular complaint I have now that I’ve finished is that the underlying motivation for the murder wasn’t explained sufficiently at all. We were given an explanation, yes, but it’s one that brings up more questions than it answers. There were also great secondary characters in this book, and I wish we had seen more of them and learned about them in more detail. That’s really my only complaint with this book. I really enjoyed it, but I was left wanting more. ( )
2 vote YouKneeK | Mar 26, 2017 |
The Graveyard Book is about a boy whose parents have died. He gets adopted by this man named Silas who lives in a graveyard. The boys name is Bod Owens Which stands for Nobody Owens. Everyone in the graveyard is dead but him and he is able to talk to the living and the dead. Silas tells him that somebody killed Bods family and wants to kill Bod. Bod is safe if he stays in the graveyard but he meets a kind girl named Scarlet who wants him to come meet her friend Mr.Frost.
Mr.Frost was very kind and nice to both of them at his house. Scarlet excuses herself and Bod is alone with Mr.Frost. Suddenly Mr.Frost attacks Bod and tells him his name is Jack not Mr.Frost and he needs to kill Bod to protect his organization.Jack and his goons chase Bod to a Church and fight. Bod takes all of them out except Jack by pushing them into a Ghoul Gate. Only Jack is left and The Sleer which nobody knows what they are tell Bod that he is there master and they will obey him. Bod tells them to take away Jack and they listen. Bod is safe and now he is able to travel the World freely with no worries.

I thought this book was great. I love books with mystery, suspense, and action. The idea of the story was very interesting and ( )
  leify.gi | Mar 23, 2017 |
The story of a boy raised by the "inhabitants" of an old cemetery is oddly plausible. A unique coming-of-age story, wryly humorous but keeping a straight face through-out. One chapter (#4) is also included in Gaiman's book "M is for Magic". (Review copied from copy-1 ( )
  librisissimo | Mar 16, 2017 |
fiction, ghosts ( )
  AmyLC | Mar 5, 2017 |
My first encounter with Neil Gaiman was several years ago in his Sandman graphic novel series... I started the first one, got too scared and had to put it down. Last year I was reintroduced to his work The Ocean at the End of the Lane in a book club and could not put it down. I heard that The Graveyard Book had a similar tone, so I got it from the library. And it's true!

I didn't want this book to end. It's telling is sweet and sad and a little bit dark. It reminded me a little of Grimm's Fairy Tales in its nonchalant approach to murder. Though I didn't find it as compelling the whole way through as The Ocean (I think because it is a children's/tween aged book and I'm 35) but I really enjoyed the read. The characters are explored beautifully and plot is developed thoughtfully, the story is believable while still being obviously fantastical.

I read this book for this years book bingo square entitled "a retelling of a classic" because the story is intended to pay homage to Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book". It truly is a coming of age tale, and like Mowgli struggles between the wild and the tame, Bod struggles with his 'gift' of straddling the border between the living and the dead. The reason is very similar, I think, in the living and the tame both lack the wisdom of surrender inherent to the wild and the dead. The depth of this perspective is vital to true happiness in life and bares repeating over and over. I hope the generations exposed to The Graveyard Book gain wisdom from this book and are enticed to read the Jungle Book over again as adults.

I'm giving this book four stars because while it opened my mind and deepened my sense of living life, I don't know that I would read it over. I would definitely recommend it to others though! ( )
  Liosa | Feb 14, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 1002 (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)
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)
This is a fantasy novel for children and the young at heart however the accompanying illustrations by Dave McKean left me wanting more. I enjoyed Bod's interactions with the graveyard residents; especially when the engraving on their headstone was repeated in the text after their name appears.
For instance:
- Doctor Trefusis (1870-1936, May He Wake to Glory) from Page 96
- Thackeray Porringer (1720-1734, son of the above) from Page 174
- Portunia (They Sleep to Wake Again) on Page 186
My first encounter with Neil Gaiman was several years ago in his Sandman graphic novel series... I started the first one, got too scared and had to put it down. Last year I was reintroduced to his work The Ocean at the End of the Lane in a book club and could not put it down. I heard that The Graveyard Book had a similar tone, so I got it from the library. And it's true!

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neil Gaimanprimary authorall editionscalculated
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
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the original prose book. Please don't combine it with any other format (Graphic novel, movie, etc).
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Book description
Nobody Owens lost his "really" family when he was infant and became adopted by a ghost family in his local cemetery. Aside from having ghosts for parents and guardians he also persued by the mysterious man who killed his family.
Haiku summary

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:56 -0400)

(see all 6 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)

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