Posts Categorized: Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I’m trying to think of where I read something similar to this years ago, but can’t remember the name of the book. It seems like it was Ray Bradbury’s October Country, but that’s not right. Even though Neil Gaiman said, “I had a book in my head. Then it took me twenty-something years to write it.” It seems more like this novel is not very original and ends up pretty unresolved. Instead of writing a novel, perhaps Mr. Gaiman should have written this as a short story. The whole premise smacked a little of Harry Potter, which I hate to say, but here is a small child whose family is murdered by an evil agent and then the boy is protected and prophesized to be the undoing of the evil order who tried to kill him.
The relationships between the graveyard inhabitants and the boy dubbed, Nobody, are charming for the most part. He is raised by the ghosts of the graveyard, a mysterious man whom is neither dead or alive (mysterious here seems like a good word for the writer not knowing either or hedging a choice), and a werewolf. While in the graveyard, the boy is safe, and outside of it the man known as Jack is still hunting for him.
Throughout the novel, young Nobody grows up and goes through the transition of teen angst and rebellion. Want a new spin on a coming of age story, put it in a graveyard! As often is the case in works involving good and evil, good conquers. The boy named Nobody becomes a young man and must head off on his own to live life. The hint here is that he will continue to wander the border regions between life and death and fight the good fight. However, nothing really happens in the novel. The books seems more like an idea without much of a plot. There is no real danger and no real risk. Again and again, Nobody does something stupid, and his guardian or the ghosts save him. Nobody is contrite. Nobody does the same thing again.
I’m a fan of Sandman and have enjoyed Gaiman’s previous work, this novel just meandered and seemed like the prelude for another work. It would have been more interesting to have these three-hundred pages condensed down to one-hundred and then write what happens to Nobody after moving on from the graveyard. Overall, this is one to miss.