The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family . . .

grave

I don’t understand where all the hype and praise for The Graveyard Book is coming from.  How can a confusing book that lacks plot explanations win the Newbery Medal?  Did I miss something? Although the first chapter immediately grabbed my attention, it slowly started going downhill for me. Characters are introduced and frequently disappear. Each chapter read like a short story, which made plot events difficult and confusing to connect.  Readers watch Bod grow from a baby to a teenager, yet so many gaps were left open and unexplored.

I wish Gaiman provided more detailed explanations, especially the motivation behind the murder of Bod’s family. After waiting so long to find out, I was so disappointed in the brief reasoning!  Also, am I the only one that had trouble piecing together Silas and Miss Lupescu’s world? It took me forever to figure out what they were and what they did.  I would have liked to read more about their world, variations of the dead, and the Honor Guards.   Same goes for the Jacks of All Trades. I have so many questions…

Lastly, in my opinion it is not suitable for the target age group (middle graders).  In the first chapter, a family is slaughtered. Scary black and white imagery, hell, ghosts, vampires, and murders all add to the dark tone throughout.  Nightmare inducing for sure!  Therefore, although the book had an interesting premise, it won’t  be my first recommendation to middle school patrons.

 

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