BOOK REVIEW: The Graveyard Book – by Neil Gaiman


Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA, Children
First published: September 30th 2007
Finished reading: July 1st 2014
Pages: 327
Rating 4

“You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.”


At first glance, the story seems to be about a little boy who grows up living in a cemetery. After his entire family was brutally murdered by mysterious man called Jack, the orphaned boy managed to escape and was adopted by a ghostly couple called Mr. and Mrs. Owens. The book actually goes a lot deeper than that: it’s a story full of dangers, adventures, supernatural creatures and sprinkled with Irish folkore. The Graveyard Book is both creepy and heartwarming… And scary and funny at the same time. It might not be the typical children’s book and not the ideal bedtime story for the youngest under us, but it will manage to amaze young and old when read at the proper moment. Definitely recommended!


So we have an orphaned toddler that finds his way to a very special graveyard when he is trying to escape the killer of his family. He promptly gets adopted by two ghosts in order to protect him and they give him his new name: Nobody Owens (because ‘he looks like nobody but himself‘). Little Nobody is then given the freedom of the graveyard and is able to go where normal living beings couldn’t. Together with a solitary guardian Silas, the ghosts try to raise Nobody (or Bod) as ordinary as possible. But the education they give him isn’t all that normal, and soon Bod learns how to Fade and other ghostly tricks normal humans cannot master… Although Bod knows he is only safe when he stays within the bounderies of the graveyard, his young curious mind soon gets him into trouble. Both inside the graveyard and outside adventures are waiting for him, and not everybody is as friendly as they appear… And of course the mysterious man Jack is still out there looking for him as well.


This story is not just another typical fantasy story. It is also about a little boy growing up surrounded by a curious environment; a boy who is very wise for his age, full of energy and wishes to finally explore the world out there. His guardians protect him from harm and help him in trying to achieve his goal, teaching him everything they know both about the real world and the world beyond… But little boys grow up, and I have to admit the end had me almost crying. A beautiful, unique and unforgettable story… Although I would have loved reading more about the world the various supernatural creatures live in.

16 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: The Graveyard Book – by Neil Gaiman

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  2. I loved this book. I didn’t want to read it to be honest, thinking it might be too young – when in actual fact Gaiman manages to make it very entertaining and probably not for quite as young an audience as I’d imagined. It’s such a good book. I love the way he uses his own love of Jungle Book to influence the story and such a great opening line – ‘there was a hand in the darkness, it held a knife’!
    Lynn 😀


    • That’s what I loved of this book; at first glance it seems to be a simple children’s story, but in fact it appeals to both young and old… And it might not ideal for the younger audience. The opening line made me want to read on straight away, and who doesn’t love Jungle Book? 🙂


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