Illustrations by Dave McKean
Published by Bloomsbury in 2008
The Graveyard Book is a skillfully crafted tale which imagines a scenario where the dead raise a living human boy. Nobody Owens was brought up on a Graveyard by ghosts and protected by his guardian Silas, who is neither living or dead. Bod (Nobody) as he becomes more educated becomes more curious and starts to draw attention to himself, which is dangerous as the man who killed his real parents is still hunting for Bod.
Like other Gaiman books I have read Gaiman draws heavily from both folklore and fairy tales. On could call The Graveyard Book a dark fairy tale which is about being invisible. Bod is the boy who sits in the corner and reads whilst others in the class are busy messing around. I like the references to many of the deceased in the graveyard and how each ghost adds a different memory to this interesting tale of intrigue.
The Graveyard Book cleverly uses the mystical world of the graveyard to explain the reason why some people yearn to find a place in society. For example, Silas, Bod’s guardian, is neither alive or dead, so he feels that he is on the fringe of society. However, Silas decides to become Bod’s guardian to try and carry out a selfless act. Like all fairy tales, The Graveyard Book, has a a moral to the story.
I enjoyed the writing in this book, as it created a story that feels old yet modern at the same time. I did like the illustrations, but there could have been more. However, I find it hard to criticise this book, because I really enjoyed reading it. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fairy tales and books that lean towards the macabre.
To summarise, The Graveyard Book is a dark fairy tale that is both modern and old. It is definitely a book that resonates with people who feel that they are invisible. Once again Neil Gaiman creates and imaginative world which helps to change one’s perception of reality.
Rating: 5/5 Stars