Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Graveyard Book

During our road trip, at least on the way up north, we mostly listened to music. As the driver, I felt the need for something different on the way home. I thought a good audio book would be a great way to help keep my mind alert during the trip, it was a good idea. The challenge was to find something the whole family would enjoy. The daughter was unsure about the idea of an audio book, but became completely entranced. Luckily, I was able to preview the audio books before purchasing one. I would not purchase any audio book without listening to a preview first. Even if the story is excellent, a bad reader will ruin the book and lose the audience. The search was successful. We will definitely be utilizing audio books more on future road trips.

I picked Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book because we had all enjoyed the movie Coraline based on the book by Mr. Gaiman (I still need to read the book, but my to-be-read list seems to grow exponentially.). My husband and I have also enjoyed many of his other works. In this production of the book, the author reads it himself. Neil Gaiman is an excellent reader, this may be due to his experience as a father reading to his own children. His voice was expressive, and he did excellent voices for the different characters.

This book won many awards including the Hugo and the Locus Award. It is the first book to win the Newbery and Carnegie Awards in the same year. Gaiman combines action, humor, history, mythology, and sincere emotional moments masterfully within this tale.

The story is about a boy that survives the murder of his family by a mysterious man named Jack. The boy stumbles into a graveyard, gains the protection of the ghosts that live there, and cannot leave without risking the man finding him. The ghosts name him Nobody Owens, Bod for short. He also has a enigmatic guardian named Silas, who acquires him the necessities of life such as food and clothing, as the ghosts can't leave the graveyard.

Most plot points are revealed to the audience as they are revealed to Bod, this adds to the suspense for the reader or listener as the case may be. Bod is mostly educated by people in the graveyard, so he acquires a very unique and thorough knowledge of history. Time skips are utilized to hit the important points in Bod's development into a young man, and keeps the story moving well. Bod is a very likable character, a mostly well-behaved child with and innate curiosity about the world, which sometimes leads him into adventures and precarious situations. There are some surprising twists in the story, especially for younger readers. Adults with experience may be less surprised at the twists, but they are enjoyable and well handled.

Overall, I really recommend this book, especially if you like fantasy/adventure stories.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Astonishing style. I wish I could write that way.
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