The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is about a boy whose mother, father, and sister are murdered, and only the toddler escapes quite by accident. The boy heads to the graveyard where a long-dead woman is implored by the boy’s dead mother to protect the boy as the killer is still searching for the boy to kill him. The woman and her husband agree and become the boy’s adoptive parents. Nobody Owens, as he is named by his ghostly adopted mother, is raised and protected by the ghosts inhabiting the graveyard.
The feel of the book was interesting and hard to classify. I would say that it is urban fantasy as it takes place in a contemporary, real world. However, Nobody lives in a graveyard with ghosts who are hundreds of years old. These are his main acquaintances and the stories and teachings he receives comes primarily from the long dead. He is an intelligent, polite kid with the personality of someone who lived long ago because he is raised by people who lived long ago. The graveyard has no place for cell phones, computers, designer clothes, and the like. However, when Nobody leaves the graveyard as he sometimes does it is to our modern world that he goes.
I was a little wary to read this book. The premise sounded interesting, but a search at my library revealed that this book is a children’s book. It sounded odd to me that a book about a boy whose family is murdered, is still being sought after to be murdered, is living in a graveyard, and is being raised by ghosts and other supernatural beings would be appropriate reading material for children. If I had young children I wouldn’t let them read this book; however, I wouldn’t have any problem with my older children reading it as the issues dealt with in this book weren’t written in a morbid or gruesome way.
As for adults reading this book, all I can say is that my dad and son-in-law are going to be receiving the book as a birthday present this year. I only hope they enjoy it as much as I did.