Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
What I Think So Far: I’ve spent a long while being harassed by my bookish friends to read something by Neil Gaiman and, as a text that I intend to use in my dissertation, I thought that The Graveyard Book, an interesting re-telling of The Jungle Book was a good place to start. This book has won several awards for children’s fiction, and I’ve not come across many book-lovers that haven’t read any of Gaiman’s works. This book, although an “easy read” directed at children, is vastly complex and thoughtful, and explores the ideas of grief, loss and death in a way that is both captivating and child-friendly. The characters are vividly painted, and the horror/fantasy element of the novel is chilling to an adult level, whilst still being entertaining for younger readers. I have always admired authors who are able to handle mature topics in children’s literature, and think that it is so important to talk about issues such as life, death, love and equality in children’s and young adult literature.
The story is a bildungsroman that follows the life of Nobody Owens, whose family are brutally murdered at the beginning of the novel by ‘the man Jack’. Nobody, the infant protagonist, escapes Jack, the vicious killer, and crawls to a graveyard where he is adopted by spirits, and grows up in ‘the freedom of the graveyard’, rather like Mowgli in The Jungle Book.
Would I Recommend: Although I’m not particularly far through this novel. I would definitely recommend it as thought provoking and thrilling read for anyone. I’m a big believer in abolishing ‘age limits’ for literature, and allowing anyone of any age to read what they like, especially in the case of adults reading so-called ‘children’s’ literature. So if you want something intriguing, creepy and easy to read, this is a great pick!
Words by Daniella Bassett