Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I'm probably the last person to finish reading the critically-acclaimed children's novel loosely based on Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, only because reading for a living makes reading for pleasure so difficult. But I'm going to review it anyhow.

In Gaiman's typically lyrical and humorously morbid fashion, he tells the tale of orphan Nobody Owens and his adventures growing up in a graveyard with ghosts and ghouls and assorted things that go bump in the night. Bod is a charmingly innocent yet oddly worldly boy, and Gaiman paints him with the vivid but light brush, one as masterfully applied as a watercolour artist's.

Gaiman's skill in suspending disbelief has always gives my imagination limitless room to soar. Just like in his previous foray into young adult literature, such Coraline, he manipulates a child's sometimes audacious perspective and carries the readers into worlds they could only have conjured up in their adolescence.

Even in the sometimes suffocating setting of the dilapidated cemetery, he manages to open up whole new realms of discovery, whether it's in the "places in between" or in underworlds where monsters snatch you up for food or fun. Even the "real world" beyond the gates of the graveyard become an endless playground for young, cloistered Bod.

If you haven't read any Gaiman, this is a great place to start, for young or old.

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