When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him – after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod’s life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?
This unusual story is not typical of the style of books I would choose but I knew after reading Good Omens that Neil Gaiman is a writer to follow. Written for Middle Grade readers The Graveyard Book is also perfect for adults. After a horrifying introduction when three members of a family are murdered by a cruel killer named Jack, the orphaned baby escapes. Crawling into the graveyard he is adopted by the ghosts and other inhabitants and his new parents name him Nobody Owens or Bod for short. Like other children he learns by experience and through the guidance of those who bring him up. He is kept safe from Jack, who still seeks him, but is able to make friends with one living human, a girl called Scarlett. When Scarlett disappears from his life Bod is not prepared to stay in the sanctuary of the graveyard, but can he survive to adulthood?
The environment and inhabitants of the graveyard have charm and intrigue and the plot is incredibly inventive. A novel about loyalty and friendship and it’s such fun.
First published in 2008, the film of The Graveyard Book is currently being produced.
To read more about Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book on Amazon UK