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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book is, if seen in the particular light, more or less a book about growing up, but what Neil Gaiman was really trying to create was a legend. He’s made plenty of oddities for the literature world, so calling The Graveyard Book simply an oddity is an insult to his work. It’s different from any of his prior handiwork and in many ways is superior. His fashion of seine-transition and portrayal is more clean-cut than I’ve ever seen it.
“There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”
In the first chapter, you might expect an author to attempt making their main character appear clever or have some sort of aptitude that upholds them from others, but in this novel, Gaiman exhibited clever traits in a style that almost forgets those adept moments that ease Bod back into a simple and ordinary character. “Stairs that went up were tricky things, and he had not yet entirely mastered them. Stairs that went down however, he had discovered, were fairly simple. He did them sitting down, bumping from step to step on his well-padded bottom.” Though this might be an ordinary trait for a toddler to escape down the stairs, this happened to be an escape from an expert killer, making it ironically extraordinary.
The graveyard becomes the most beneficial setting for Bod. Unimaginably, an “abandoned” place such as a graveyard, kept him safer than any other location in the world. Gaiman has created an after-life with the common theory of the ethereal, haunted cemetery. The title, The Graveyard Book, is taken from the original classic, The Jungle Book, where Gaiman received inspiration. So the muse of a book about a child raised by dead people instead of jungle creatures sounded modernized, entertaining, and satisfyingly creepy. This type of twist in a story is one of the factors expected of Mr. Gaiman. Though it is completely original; every story is hand crafted by his morbidly positive and comical outlook. It’s extremely exciting, a story like this, and is even more for the writer. When the possibilities are endless, when you’ve created another world, and pictured the final product is indescribable. Dave McKean’s illustrations present an even more compelling story, giving you a vivid image.
The dead float, like a low fog from a rain. With his wispy strokes and indirect shapes he builds the mystical and haunting impression on the reader (example on fan tribute collage). Even Neil Gaiman said Dave McKean had a more masterful story telling ability than he did. His drawings with Neil’s charming and picturesque writing create the masterpiece of their collaborations.
A beautiful picture is painted on every page (not talking literally now); the reverse status of a boy and the Departed. In a state of mind, this picture can seem distasteful or unnatural, and it is unnatural, but the capacity of learning Bod is influenced by is unbelievably incredible; with the amounts of knowledge he became well educated and cultured. “I can Fade and I can Haunt. I can open a ghoul-gate and I know the constellations.”
Bod later joins a public school for a short period:
“ ‘Hand writes everything,’ ” (says a puzzled teacher), “ ‘Lovely handwriting. What they used to call copperplate.’ ”
“The first class was History – a subject Bod mostly enjoyed, although he often had to resist the urge to say that it hadn’t happened like that, not according to the people who had been there…”
To get the real story from an effected and/or participant in the event is the greatest education a human being can obtain.
In the chapter, The Convocation and in, Every Man Jack, an unexplained issue is brought up. The cause of the murders in Bod’s family, all resolving in the remainder of the book: “‘The boy’s still alive. And time is not longer our friend.’” In this part of the book Bod is intrigued even more by his family’s murderer. He is older, between ten and fifteen as the story advances, and has retained a broader scope of life. With his encounters at a public school and his knowledge of the past, he seems faintly determined: you’re not sure what’s on his mind and only see his curiosities and reactions. A reader wouldn’t be satisfied until one or the other was silenced which is very similar to Harry Potter’s fate; (“[One can’t] live while the other survives”- J. K. Rowling); it’s scary, it’s horribly sad, and, except for this similarity to Rowling’s series, The Graveyard Book carries a consummate magic Harry Potter doesn’t have.
It’s delightfully simple, the concept is clever, and the resolution is heartwarming. It’s not a thriller and never dreadfully offensive. By a reader’s taste if they pick up this book, the Newbery Award and Neil Gaiman fans will guaranty it will be loved and preferred.
“ ‘…Sleep my little babby-oh, Sleep until you waken, When you wake you’ll see the world, If I’m not mistaken…’
‘You’re not,’ whispered Bod. ‘And I shall.’
‘Kiss a lover, Dance a measure, Find your name, And buried treasure…’
“Then the last lines of the song came back to Mistress Owens, and she sang then to her son.
‘Face your life, Its pain, its pleasure, Leave no path untaken,’” pg. 306.