The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman


My Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Paranormal Fiction, YA


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…

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages. (Goodreads)

“You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.”


A boy gets raised by ghosts in this tale about the living and dead. As the boy gets older he encounters many things such as ghouls and bullies. But there is one person who longs for his death… a man named Jack. The boy and his allies defeat Jack eventually ending the story.

There is lots of implicit symbolism portrayed throughout this book. One that came to mind while reading it was the brooch, the cup, and the knife. These three treasures represent greed itself and is cleverly portrayed by the author Neil Gaiman. It is noticed when it is explained that the treasure is buried with its master in the first place which is quite greedy in the first place. Second, The Sleer is greedy by wanting to keep and guard the master all to themselves. As we find out, it doesn’t do Jack any good by actually becoming their master. There is even a flashback where a man named Abanazer Bolger and his friend fight each other to the death just for the brooch. If that isn’t a clever way of implying that these treasures represent greed then I don’t know what is.

During and after I read this book I pondered the obvious but whimsical and bizarre theme of death. Sure it is mentioned blatantly throughout the book, but there is much more to it than what meets the eye. As we read and experience the world Neil Gaiman has created we find that we love the spooky fact of the living and the dead living and coexisting together. We also find that their are many walls, barricades, and rules that rarely make this possible. Bod is a great example of this. He was only taken in by the Owenses because of the appearance of the Lady on the Grey. This was a sign that Bod could have the freedom of the graveyard. Not any living person gets this opportunity though. There is a fine silver lining between the living and the dead. The graveyard as Neil actually explains in the creation of this book, that he got the idea from when he was a kid sitting in a library surrounded by books. The same thing applies to the idea of the graveyard. Each headstone represents a book containing knew knowledge of the people of the graveyard. A book is described as being a doorway to other worlds. This is literally true for the ghoul gates in the graveyard Bod explores and lives in. The ghoul gates are actual doorways to what is called Ghulheim. The death even dance with the living in part of the book dancing what they call the Danse Macabray. It is fascinating how much this book opens your thought on what death actually means for the living and how the living and the dead coexist in a uniquely weird way.

I really loved this book because it brought to my attention many thoughts and descriptions. I enjoyed the way Neil Gaiman set up the story making you want to find out what happens and ending the book with you wanting to devour more. Neil Gaiman has boundless ideas and themes sewn and hewn into the perplexing and shivering lines of this masterpiece worthy to be read over and over again.