Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Genre: YA Horror
Published: October 2008
Pages: 312
Book Source: Own purchase

I listened to The Graveyard Book on audio and oh what a treat! It's narrated by the author, Neil Gaiman, who reads brilliantly, does different character voices making each totally believable, & I found his reading style & voice quite mesmerising ... warm honey comes to mind :)

I really did become completely immersed in the world of the graveyard. A truly "ageless" read.

Gaiman is delightful on podcast, with trademark self depreciating humour he informs of the origins of The Graveyard Book & how he made a start on it many years ago & put it aside quite a few times, believing he wasn't a good enough writer to pull it off.

Of the first chapter he states "it's the scariest thing I've ever written." It begins with the murder of a toddler's family, (violent but not graphic) by the man Jack. A midnight toddle, to a nearby graveyard means the little boy narrowly avoids the fate of his entire family. Saved by the residents of the graveyard, Nobody Owens (Bod) is adopted by the long dead, Mr & Mrs Owens & granted the Freedom of the Graveyard. His guardian Silas, neither dead nor alive, brings him food and ensures he is educated in the ways of the living & the dead.

We follow Bod as he travels through ghoul gates, attends public school, makes friends of the dead & undead variety & learns to fade & haunt. While a little scary, & definitely creepy, this story also has a sweetness & goodness that I found very touching.

The Jack of All Trades plot is quite bizarre but ultimately this is a tale about family, friendship & growing up, albeit a little strangely, but hey this is fantasy.

Chapters are structured as short stories moving through Bod's life & by the ending I had tears in my eyes. It's not a bad ending but an emotional one, it reminded me of The House At Pooh Corner, when Christopher Robin comes of age.

Favourite quotes - "What's so important that you have to go away?" Bod's six year old mind tried to imagine something that could make Silas want to leave him and failed. 'it's not fair.'
His guardian was unperturbed. "it is neither fair nor unfair, Nobody Owens. It simply is."

"Name the different kinds of people," said Miss Lupescu. "Now."
Bod thought for a moment. "The living," he said. "Er. The dead." He stopped. Then, "...Cats?" he offered, uncertainly. "Are [people] happier dead?"

"Sometimes. Mostly, no. 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."

Check out Neil Gaiman's website for lots of interesting & amusing info & a visit to Mr Bobo’s Remarkable Mouse Circus – Neil Gaiman’s official website for young readers is an absolute must. Here you will be able to watch the master storyteller himself read The Graveyard Book in its entirety.


  1. It sounds wonderful! I was sort of saving this one for the readathon in October, but now I wonder if I should listen to it instead!

  2. I truly should read it, ever since I read Stardust I have loved Gaiman. he is so funny

  3. I definitely may try this will be my first one. Thanks for the great review and have a wonderful weekend.

  4. I listened tothis and really liked it! I read Gaiman's Neverwhere and loved that too. Guess I'll have to get more of his books!

  5. I'm still not sure if I like the writing of Neil Gaiman. I'm reading Sandman Vol. 1 now and I have read Good Omens(collaboration with Pratchett), everybody loves the latter but I didn't(I have to re-read it sometime but not yet).

  6. What a great book I bet it is even better in audio!

  7. Thanks for the great review Teddyree. This sounds like and excellent read. It's nice that the author himself narrated the audio cassette!

    Have a Great Weekend!


  8. I should really pick this book up. Also stopped by to let you know, I have an award waiting for you on my blog. Keep up the good blogging!

  9. I have read the book but I would love to hear the audio version.

  10. you know i wasn't too impressed with the graveyard book (I realize I might get shot by many after typing that sentence). I blame it on the fact that I had previously read Coraline and just fell in love with it.

    Still, I think my reaction might have been different if I had listened to it. I have heard Gaiman read excerpts and he is absolutely enchanting.

  11. I bought this book for my husband after we went and saw "Coraline."

    I read that Gaiman was inspired to write this book sort of in the style of The Jungle Book, only about dead people instead of animals.


  12. After reading Coraline I had wanted to read this one but haven't had time. Listening to it though is a great idea. I'm going to see if the library has a copy.

  13. You should definitely listen to this one. Neil Gaiman has a voice like warm honey! Use the link on my review to the Mouse Circus website and you can listen to the entire book.
    Kate ~ check out the Gaiman's video on how the Graveyard Book came about. Very cool & funny as!

  14. I simply love the fact that Neil read this himself. This is on my TBR list but I may just get the audio version on iTunes. Thanks Teddyree!

  15. wonderful review Teddyree! I read Stardust by Gaiman and enjoyed it. Maybe I should try this one in audio version as well.


Thanks for taking the time to leave some comment love, I'm a 'comment back' kinda girl. Don't forget to check the 'Notify me' box