Patricia Edmondson, October 18, 2008
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The Graveyard Book is an interesting accomplishment both in the way the text is structured and the lovely gifts of imagination that render it both a believable and a delightful indulgence for the reader. The Graveyard Book is The Jungle Book with ghosts instead of animals, a graveyard instead of a jungle, and is inspired by Neil’s son as a child many years ago. I, too, have a fondness for The Jungle Book and really enjoyed the “it takes a graveyard” sense of communal responsibility in caring for this orphaned toddler.
With a historical nod to Jack, the ripper, a slasher named Jack takes the lives of Bod’s human family when he was just a toddler. Bod narrowly escapes his own death by toddling into the graveyard, and the rest is a fine series of twists and turns that involves humans, ghosts, ghouls, another well-written close encounter with Jack, and finally Bod emerging as young man. I miss Bod already and wish him well.
With each passing chapter, the reader watches as young Bod becomes two years older each time and grows up right before your very eyes. This talented writer gently coaxes you into an imaginary and believable world of ghosts and ghouls who kindly bestow the “freedom of the graveyard” on young Nobody "Bod" Owens, his adopted name. This gift special allows young master Owens the ability to fade, to haunt, and the protection of the graveyard from those who would seek to harm him like the man, Jack.
This book is finely crafted and a real pleasure to read. Thanks for such a lovely romp through the macabre that was tame enough for even a sensitive soul like me to read at bedtime and not be frightened but quite the contrary. I love the way this book lingers like mist after the reading is done. Very, very satisfying.