The Graveyard Book. Finished 4-25-20, 4.25/5 stars, older kids tale, 312 pages, pub. 2008
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a perfectly normal boy. Well, he would be perfectly normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the world of the dead.
There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard: the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer; a gravestone entrance to a desert that leads to the city of ghouls; friendship with a witch, and so much more.
But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod’s family. from Goodreads
I’ve talked before about my fascination with cemeteries and their appeal to me in the way they can make you honor history and evaluate life at the same time. So, why did it take me so long to read this Newbery Medal, Hugo Award, Locus Award and Carnegie Medal winner? I don’t know, but I’m glad I picked it up for the read-a-thon a few weeks ago.
When a toddler escapes his home as a killer murders his parents and sister, he makes his way to the graveyard. Once there he is found by Mrs. Owens who is touched by the dead spirit of the child’s mother and she is determined to raise and protect the boy. There is discussion among the ghosts and she and her husband are allowed to raise the boy as their own. They must rely on the protection and guardianship of Silas, the caretaker of the graveyard. Mrs. Owens gives the boy the name of Nobody and he finds a home.
The graveyard and the spirits that live there are perfection. Silas? My favorite vampire ever. Nobody has the run of the graveyard and does go out into the real world, even attending a real school for a short time. But the graveyard holds all of the excitement, vampires, werewolves, witches, ghouls, ghosts, and, best of all, a girl. There is also, of course, the problem that the murderer is still looking for him.
I loved the spirit of and spirits in this book. It was a perfect late night read. It is a children’s book, but I don’t know what age would be appropriate since I think it’s a little dark for the younger set. Gaiman found The Jungle Book as an early inspiration. The chapters are set two years apart and there are eight of them. I was mostly sad at the end, but hopeful that Nobody Owens is out there somewhere living his best life.