Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman
Originally published : 2008
Length: 320
Awards: Newbery Medal
Personal Enjoyment Rating: 4.5/5
Amazon Rating: 4.5/5 (194 Customer Reviews)
Goodreads: 6,792 ratings, 4.26 average rating

When I first heard about the premise of this book--a toddler who is orphaned after his family is murdered spends his childhood being raised in a cemetery by the dearly departed--it sounded a bit off the wall to me, and I wasn't sure if I would like it. I had read Stardust and Coraline by Gaiman, and I liked the two, but wasn't completely blown away, but impressed enough to want to read more of his works. After a long wait, I finally managed to get a copy from the library. (Oh, if only I had grabbed it before it won the Newbery!)
After being completely terrified reading the first few pages, I got carried away by this tale of Nobody Owens and the various individuals--whether alive, dead, or somewhere in between--who care for him and teach him about the realities of life and death. For me it is mostly a story about compassion, made even more powerful by the contrasting evil elements throughout. I loved the perfect balance between humor and darkness. The narrative takes some unexpected turns that I did find "off the wall," but they didn't detract from my enjoyment and satisfaction. There are a few unanswered questions in the end, but this usually doesn't bother me. I suppose I should just spit it out: I LOVED IT!
I have to confess that I was completely ignorant that Gaiman was inspired by Kipling's The Jungle Book until after reading it. I would like to read it again with that in mind. It may give me a whole new perspective. I have read that the audio, narrated by Gaiman himself, is excellent.

More reviews:
1More Chapter
The Hidden Side of a Leaf
My Two Blessings
Maw Books Blog
Bookshelves of Doom
Rob Around Books
Stainless Steel Droppings
Fyrefly's Book Blog
Bart's Bookshelf
As usual, I need more bookshelves
The Movieholic and Bibliophile's Blog
Penny's Pages
Biblio Addict

I know I have read some great reviews about The Graveyard Book other than these that I can't find right now. Please send me a link if you have a review!


  1. I'll have to make sure I read The Jungle Book before reading this.

  2. This sounds like a great book. I haven't read much by Gaiman but have enjoyed what I've read already. I hope this one is as good as everyone says it is.

  3. I read this one recently too. My review is here:

    It's easily the best Gaiman I've read so far and I hope he writes some kind of sequel.

    Wonderful music on your site!

  4. I loved this book, also! It is making me consider revisiting The Jungle Book - I only know the Disney version, so I'm sure the real thing is better! My review is here:

  5. I didn't get into this, although I enjoyed Coraline. I want to try another Gaiman, though, maybe one of his more adult books.

  6. Thank you for the link and for coming by! The audio is amazing (as is watching him read it). Hope you do check that out :)

  7. I enjoyed the Jungle Book. This seems odd for a retelling, as The Jungle book was about animals in a jungle and this is a ghost story? I don't like ghost stories but I will read this since it's a Newbery. I'm very intrigued.

    I've found I love childrne's books on audio, for the most part. Although I've heard it's often not so good to listen to audio from the author (as they are not professional readers), it sounds like Gaiman is an exception to that!

  8. I really enjoyed this book, too! My link is here:

  9. There is a lot of Neil Gaiman love going around right now, but I don't know, for some reason his books just don't scream "read me!" for me. I will read this but I must admit I am in no rush.

  10. I'm glad you liked this one! I wrote a review of this myself on the same day.

  11. I'm gonna check out the audiobook too. :D