Gaiman captured my imagination from the opening when a man named Jack enters a family's house and kills them. The only thing that goes wrong is an infant boy escapes his crib, crawls outside and disappears. Where did he go? Why can't Jack find him? That is the tale this magical storyteller crafts in "The Graveyard Book".
I have read some of Neil Gaiman's comic books but none of his novels. When Carl, of Stainless Steel Droppings, announced that this was the group read for his R.I.P. VII I could not resist signing up. I kept up with the reading schedule but time constraints kept me from posting.
Gaiman's fascinating story of a young boy, given the name Nobody or Bod, who gets adopted by the denizens of a graveyard makes for a classic story. It is one I will re-read again in the future.
Even though most of the characters are dead, Gaiman is able to bring them to life. It's hard to narrow it down to a favorite.
Silas, Bod's guardian, was one of them. We are kept in the dark about his true nature for much of the book.
Scarlett Perkins, Bod's first human friend. Her story is very emotional. We go from the high of their first friendship to the tragedy of loosing a friend. I was pleasantly surprised when she returns later but their friendship does not end well.
If I had to pick one favorite, not including Bod, would be Elizabeth Hempstock. The tragedy of how her life ended was heartbreaking. When Bod chooses to ignore his family's warning and venture into the forbidden part of the graveyard, he brings a little happiness into her "life". I kept hoping for a better ending to her tale but it was not meant to be.
The final chapter is a realistic portrayal of the transition from childhood to adulthood. It could not end any other way. As he becomes an adult, Bod looses the graveyard and the only family he has ever known.
At first, I thought this was a unique book that was different from anything else I read. Then it struck me that it belongs in the same category as "A Fine & Private Place" by Peter S. Beagle. Both books are unique with completely different stories but share some similarities. If you liked "A Graveyard Book" I recommend that you read "A Fine & Private Place".