Wednesday, February 4, 2015

'The Graveyard Book' by Neil Gaiman


After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . . 

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

I'm not entirely sure what to think of this book.

I liked the characters.
Bod was pretty cool. You read his story as he grew up. He was curious. An explorer. He wanted to know things. He wanted to go on adventures. He went to trouble, not letting it come to him. I liked that he was childish and outgrew it like a normal guy. He was interesting. He had a backstory. (The killer, remember?) He had magical powers. (Not really superpowers. Just powers. More like gifts.) He didn't overuse his gifts. He didn't seem snooty because of them. He was quite down-to-earth in a way. 
I liked Scarlett. And was even more pleased when she didn't end up a love interest. She was pretty cool. An adventurer as well. But I didn't like that she was so rude to Bod. She was pretty interesting. She was adventurous. I liked that. Why stay at home when you can go around to places? I mean, that's why I read. 

The theme of growing up is throughout. People grow up. That's a simple fact. Showing someone growing up in snippets of adventures shows him maturing. Sure, he's still a bit reckless. Sure, he doesn't seem all grown up. But he became more adult-like.
The theme is important. Growing up is part of life. You have to grow up. Showing this in a character is an easier way to digest it. You have to accept it. The same way Bod does. Children can read this. They see his adventures. They see his curiosity. They see it. And they know they have to grow up. 
I liked that. 

The little pieces of action, of drama, were good. They were mini adventures. Showing a child growing up as he ran about through life. Explored and discovered. He went through action. The fear. The thrill. 
They were exciting. I liked them. They brought me a little zip of joy. 
They carried the story along. They made the little adventures very interesting. I wanted to learn more. I wanted to read more. 
They were very good. Well written. And even if they were small, they still were enough.

The ending...was bittersweet. Admittedly, I liked it. 
It was a good ending. It made me smile. It suited the story. 
I would have preferred something else. Or if he had actually gone off. He grew up. He had to move on. I didn't like it. I wanted a happier ending.
But life isn't always about happy endings. You have to see the terrible things to see the good. This book had a perfect example of a happy but not happy ending. He had to leave. But he did so with a smile and hope for the future. You can tell he wanted to explore the world. (He mentioned it, after all.) 
The ending suited the book. A book about tales and stories. We had our main character going into the best, or worst, adventure yet.
The real world. 

I didn't like the plot. There didn't seem to be a connected narrative. It was more along the lines of many short stories. I didn't particularly like that.
I wanted a narrative told from one age. I wanted it to be a straightforward story. It was a bit convoluted because it leaped from age to age. This was confusing. The ages were hard to keep track of. I wasn't entirely sure of the plot. There didn't seem to be typical plot arc. Not sure if the Jacks-of-all-trades coming in is the climax or not. I wasn't sure about the plot. It was an interesting plot, but there wasn't anything that seemed to follow the typical plot line. (The mountain? What is it called? I forgot.)
A question comes to mind. What genre would this be? Juvenile fiction? Young adult? I'm not exactly sure. 

Sunny with a 20% chance of rain

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