Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Graveyard Book

I spent the last week being sick, and the last two days canning. Final total, four books read, 8 quarts of salsa (that's the big jar, and a lot of tomatoes), 5 quarts of pickles and one lonely little quart of tomatoes, the yellow light bulb type, they look very pretty in the jar. I also taught Gospel Doctrine at church on Sunday. I've been thinking about posting my lesson, at least an abbreviated version, but it depends on catching up with everything else. I've still got a fairy and princess costume to make in the next two weeks. I'm a slow sewer so it might take me that long.

Anyway, this was a good book. I like Neil Gaiman, in a cautious kind of way. He wrote Stardust, which I liked, and co-wrote Good Omens, which I love, but most of his other things are too dark for me.

This was dark, but in a friendly way. It does open with an entire family being killed, but then the youngest in the family finds sanctuary in a graveyard, with all the spirits that live there. The author, in the closing page, references the Jungle Book, with the child being raised by a series of good natured and differently talented individuals, and I guess this was similar.

One thing I liked, and I just now realize, is how death is described and regarded in the story. It is just one of those things that everyone has to deal with. It is not shocking or scary. The boy grows up surrounded by spirits, learns how they died and when they lived, but there is no horror or sadness. It was a very good coming of age novel. The boy grows and learns and finally leaves the graveyard in a very satisfying way.

The Graveyard Book. Neil Gaiman. HarperCollins. 2008

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