Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Review: The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman. The Graveyard Book. 2008. Narrated by Neil Gaiman.

Neil Gaiman is an expert storyteller of the best sort, and The Graveyard Book provides an excellent example of that skill. The Graveyard Book tells the story of Nobody Owens (Bod for short), a young boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard after his parents are murdered. It references Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, where folk tales and the supernatural replace the wilds of India. It's a story of a boy becoming a man in the face of danger; Gaiman tells an old story with the best, making it feel new and exciting despite the familiarity.

This novel won the 2009 Newberry Medal and the audio recording won audible's Tournament of Audiobooks. There's a reason this book is getting lauded. It's a beautiful, simple, excellently crafted and thoroughly entertaining story. It makes the fantasy elements of ghosts and phantoms and witches both homey and mysterious, crossing old familiar folk tales with new twists and strange mythologies and it does it in such a way that I just enjoyed the story washing over me. Hearing Gaiman read his own novel is as familiar and comforting as my own father reading bedtime stories when I was little. It made me want to download the rest of Gaiman's audiobooks. If you like ghost stories or Gaiman, you should definitely check this out, either in book or audio form.


  1. I'm still surprised that I haven't read anything by Neil Gaiman. I tried once when I ordered Neverwhere from the library, but it ended up being the french version and while I can understand some of it, my knowledge of french is lacking. This book looks amazing though, I'll definitely have to read it one day.

    Great review!

    ~ Popin

  2. I couldn't find an e-mail contact for you but wanted to tell you that you've won a book giveaway on my blog BookNAround. Please contact me at whitreidsmama at yahoo dot com so I can get the info I need to pass along your prize.

  3. I liked this one a lot too & I love Neil Gaiman... my favorite is Neverwhere.

  4. Cupcakewitch, I started with Neverwhere and I love it, but I think Stardust is my favorite - I have the Charles Vess graphic version and it's beautiful.

  5. I loved The Graveyard Book and I couldn't stop thinking about for several days after I had finished reading it.