Sunday, January 2, 2011

Graveyard Book

My first Kindle (Amazon's electronic book) experience was with the award winning book by Neil Gaiman, "The Graveyard Book." This book is written by the author of “Stardust”, a book made into a movie which I LOVED. He is also the author of another book and animated movie called “Coraline.” which I actually didn't care for. So this new book, "The Graveyard Book", there was a 50-50 chance I would like it based on my history with this author.

The story begins with a murder, which is something that really peaks your interest and you want to know more. A family of three is stabbed to death by a man named Jack and the sole survivor, an 18 month old boy, crawls out of the house, down the steps, and across the street to the graveyard while the rest of his family stay at home and are stabbed to death. This toddlers well timed escape is what saves him, or he, too, would have had his throat slit and his lights snuffed out with the rest of the family.

Jack, the murderer, comes looking for the baby because he was hired to kill the entire family, including the baby (now who would kill a baby? is what I thought). But the ghosts in the graveyard protect this little boy and make a pact and commitment to adopt and protect this child. The boy is then assigned parents and a guardian to watch over him until he becomes old enough to live without their wise guidance.

The book is filled with scary and bizarre experiences. There is lots of macabre action in a cemetery, especially when you have oodles of dead people, including ghouls and witches hovering around you. And then there is the continued desire to complete this killing assignment lying right outside the cemetery walls.

The experiences of overcoming adversity are triumphs that everyone can enjoy in the story. It is also fun to be included in some of the child's life lessons given by those who have been dead for hundreds of years and have no current life experience to help him get ready to ever exist with the living. For example, the challenges of learning to read when all you have are headstones is an interesting dilemma. The desire and craving to learn and experience more than just what is within your fenced borders is something we probably all can relate to and can understand when he rebels and sets out for new adventures.

If you like weird stories, books about graveyards, or creepy fantasy events, you’ll probably like this book. If you’re looking for a gentle book with a happy ending, this isn't that kind of book. But it is enjoyable in a quirky kind of way and something older kids would probably get a kick out of because it is so bizarre.

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