Saturday, March 21, 2009

feel at home among the dead

This is my review of Neil Gaiman's The Grave Yard Book...

"It is going to take more than just a couple of good-hearted souls to raise this child, It will ... take a graveyard." 

While training myself to read fiction I've come across a couple of Gaiman's books in passing. There was the award-record-smashing American Gods which attained elite levels of coolness and who can forget the adorable "adult" fairy story medley: Stardust. I shamefully admit that although a comic book fan, I've never read Sandman. Totally unacceptable behaviour, to be remedied in short order. That said, add The Grave Yard Book to my list of consumed Gaiman greatness. It is the story of Nobody Owens a child whose parents are murdered in the first few pages, the rest is his being brought up by the spirits of the dead at the local grave yard (hence the name of the book). Growing pains for Bod (Nobody's nick-name) on the surface are different in kind and not degree from the standard, nevertheless there are familiar paths still trod by the precocious lad: learning to read, finding food and such; all of which present challenges for the inhabitants of the grave yard, who lack corporeal bits, requiring interesting solutions to implement Bod's education. For me the best, or at least, the most touching parts of the tale are Bod's interactions with Elizabeth Hempstock. 

The Skinny: I liked his other books better, but I was trying to learn to speed read with this so I may have lost out on a little of the magic along the way. Plus, Neil held off writing this for 20 years until he thought his skills were equal to the task and he's been nominated for yet another Hugo for the work, so what do I know? Plenty: 3 star reading rating fo sho yo. 

P.S. Too many unanswered questions, but maybe that was the point.

...That is all

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