Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

February 11, 2011

“The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman (Website | Facebook | Twitter) is the winner of the prestigious Newbery Medal award. This is a fictional book which takes place in a graveyard.

Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
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“The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman is a bit of a departure for me. If you notice most of the books I like to read are not even close to the YA and/or supernatural genres. Alas I will read whatever Neil Gaiman writes because he is … well … he’s Neil Gaiman dammit!

The novel starts off in a terrifying fashion – a man murders a whole family sans the toddler who somehow escapes. However, there is very little violence in the book, granted it is implied but not described so children (let’s say fourth or fifth grade) should have much of an issue with the book.

The book itself is exciting and witty, some of it turns sinister but the tenderness which Gaiman builds into his characters and their interactions makes up for that. What I like about Gaiman books is that he doesn’t exploit one’s fears, instead I share in his wonder of the supernatural and feel entrenched in the story.

The Graveyard itself is not as depressing as it seems, but in the context of the book is used as a sanctuary for a small child, which the inhabitants of the graveyard (ghosts) protect from a murderer.

Strange as it may seem (after all, this book is strange to begin with) all the characters seem believable, from Bod, our protagonist, to the ghosts in the graveyard. Each of them has a distinct personality, wit and wisdom.

This is a delightful book and I thought it was thoroughly entertaining. Neil Gaiman has been writing modern fairy tales for years filled with magical moments that let you forget the mundane and engage in a world beyond your own.
And isn’t that what books are all about?


A small baby escapes a horrible night when his family was murdered. The baby crawls into a graveyard followed by the murderer, the man Jack, who loses him in the mist. The boy is taken care by the inhabitants of the graveyard, his name is Nobody Owens or Bod. Bod can transgress between the world of the living and world of the dead, how and why is part of the mystery.

As the years pass, Bod, now five years old, becomes a curious youngster. He starts asking questions, mostly about why he cannot leave the graveyard and the answers the ghosts give him do not satisfy his curious nature. Bod turns to Silas, the graveyard keeper who can also live between two worlds and knows the dangers and certain death Bod can expect if he leaves the graveyard.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I bought this book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman


  • bookspersonallyFebruary 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Very nice review- I enjoyed this book, too, & had similar reactions. As a parent I wondered about the violence, but my daughter was okay with it (about on par with the later Harry Potters).

  • LifetimeReaderFebruary 12, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Both my partner and son love this book and love how it turns Kipling’s Jungle Book in such a fascinating direction. I haven’t read it yet but am looking forward to it. Your review just intensifies that.

  • mummazappaFebruary 14, 2011 at 1:31 am

    I love Neil Gaiman too, but haven’t read this yet. I’ve heard this has been challenged in a lot of school libraries, which just makes me want to read it more!

    • zoharFebruary 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm

      I wonder why it’s been challenged?
      I bet that, as usual, it’s by people who did not read it.

  • Kirsteen macmillanOctober 6, 2013 at 3:02 am

    Neil I am47 and I love your children’s books I have read the grave yard book and loved it so dose every one I give it to I also enjoyed your new book fortunately the milk love them all get great pleasure out of them I don’t have kids but I do have a great book shop person who always recommends your books to me I look ford to the next one would love something about bod owns again hint hint love you big time

  • BookendgetawayJanuary 18, 2022 at 1:13 pm

    Wonderful review!

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