Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Graveyard Book -- A Review in Threes

Time for another book review. As usual I'll be using my three tiered method.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

published in 2008 by HarperCollins Publishers.

3 Reasons to like this Book

1) Gaiman pays homage to Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book in the acknowledgments and rightfully so but this book is more than The Jungle Book set in a graveyard. Nobody Owens is a boys raised in an abandoned cemetery by the otherworldly inhabitants, but the tale of his growing up is so fabulously spun that even the most grounded non-believer will think twice on their next visit to the graveyard.

2) The Graveyard Book is the latest Newbery Medal winner. An award richly deserved. If you are a fan of children's books or simply literature in general you would be doing yourself a disservice by not reading this novel. Yes, it is that good.

3) If I were going to attempt to teach a writing class, I would use The Graveyard Book as the manual for the concept of show versus tell. Not wishing to give anything away I will not say more, but Gaiman's handling of Nobody's guardian Silas is as good as writing gets.

3 Reasons not to like this book

1) You have some philosophical opposition to the very idea of the supernatural. I know there are people out there unwilling to suspend their own beliefs even for a moment and I pity them for the wonders that they will miss out on in this world.

2) It's too short. I hope this isn't the last we hear of Nobody Owen's as he is the type of character that cries for a series.

3) I honestly cannot think of a third reason.

3 Lines beginning with the 3rd sentence on page 33 of the novel. (I have to break my own rule here as the 3rd line on page 33 is the final sentence of the chapter, so instead here are the first three of the next chapter.)

Bod was a quiet child with sober grey eyes and a mop of tousled, mouse-colored hair He was for the most part, obedient. He learned how to talk, and, once he had learned, he would pester the graveyard folk with questions.


Unknown said...

I have a book by Neil Gaiman in my room. My cousin loaned it to me months ago. Just haven't picked it up yet. I'm tempted to now. thanks for the review!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have heard so many good things about this book.

Crystal Phares said...

This is the first I've heard of this one, but I will definitely look out for it! Thanks for the review.

Crystal Phares said...

Oh, and I stole your three lines from page 33 and did it on my blog. Forgive me please!!! Have a great day!

Sarah Laurenson said...

I really have to get this book.

Thanks for the review!

Charles Gramlich said...

American Gods, which many folks really liked, didn't do much for me and I have since hesitated at getting anything by Gaiman. This makes me rethink it however, so maybe I'll give it a try.

Bubblewench said...

I'm a huge Gaiman fan.. nice choice.

Glad to see you back to 'normal' here. Just spent a few hours catching up with you.

Keep smiling Travis.

You totally rock.

Melissa Amateis said...

Sounds fascinating!

Monnik said...

oooh. looks good! adding it to my list!

Monnik said...

wow! It must be good! I just placed a hold on it at my library's website and I'm 35th in line.