The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
The first Gaiman novel that I've read that I absolutely loved. I seem to enjoy his graphic novels, movie versions, and television visions better. But I was so glad I gave this one a shot. I put it on hold and got to be the very first earreader of the copy from my library. Yay!
I heard Gaiman read a section of one chapter from the middle of this book at the National Book Festival in September 2008 and loved the concept of a young boy growing up in a graveyard. Bod (short for Nobody) is raised by the dead (ghosts) and schooled in the sort of life lessons only the dead can provide. He also learns some tricks of the graveyard (like why to avoid ghouls and how to become unnoticed/invisible- an element I remember in a slightly different version from his Neverwhere). I loved the mix of ghosts he associates himself with- a guardian, sort-of-parents, a witch, a poet, and more. But for all the supernatural fun, Bod is still a real little boy who needs to eat, needs to socialize, needs to fall in love, and needs desperately to find out who murdered his parents!
My favorite part was definitely the Macabray (sp?) dance scene. Fascinating and beautiful and to hear about it with Neil reading it was quite poetic and beautiful :-)
The story covers quite a bit of his life, skipping through years as he discovers more and more about his home and his world. It culminates with the realization of what "Jack of all Trades" actually means and why Bod has had to be protected in the graveyard all these years. There is action and intense emotion, and the ending is perfect, IMHO.
What a wonderfully enjoyable read. I highly recommend earreading this one on Audio because Neil's telling of his own story is spectacular.