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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Audible Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This is wonderful entertainment! Do not make the mistake of thinking this book is horror because it's not. It is "ghost" story telling at its best!
LENGTH  7 hrs and 47 mins
PUBLISHER  HarperChildren's

The Graveyard Book | [Neil Gaiman]Print version available at Amazon:
  • Reading level: Ages 10 and up
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060530944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060530945
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: 5.0 of 5.0

Publisher's Summary:
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 best-selling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.
Music arrangement of "Danse Macabre" copyright 2008 by Béla Fleck and Ben Sollee, Fleck Music (BMI), admin. by Bug Music.
©2008 Neil Gaiman; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers

This was narrated by the author and it is a fabulous ‘light’ ghost story.
Nobody Owens is only a toddler when an evil man sneaks in and kills his parents and sister.  The infant toddles out the open door and crawls to the nearby graveyard which is now a nature reserve.  When the bad man tries to get in to capture the baby, Mr. and Mrs. Owens decide to ‘adopt’ him. They don’t know his real name so he is dubbed Nobody, ‘Bod’ for short.

Bod is given ‘the Freedom of the Graveyard’ and Silas, who is neither ghost nor human, but who is also allowed ‘the Freedom of the Graveyard’ is appointed as Guardian. Silas is able to leave the graveyard to bring in food, clothing and other necessities for a living boy. When Silas has to be away he brings in another character, Miss Lupescu, to watch over Bod.

The story is broken into nine chapters which cover adventures as Bod comes to the graveyard and grows, with the help of his graveyard family, to be a brave, curious and determined young man of 15.  Bod makes a friend of a visiting girl and visits a dark tomb where there is a frightening ‘sleer’ that guards a treasure. Most who have visited do not return. Bod doesn’t always obey his guides and one misadventure takes him on a wild and scary visit to the land of the ghouls. Bod makes a friend of a witch ghost in one episode and in another he tries to go to a human school. There is also a story involving a strange, much anticipated and exciting “dance of the macabre.’  Eventually the tale comes full circle with Bod having to face the Man Jack who is still seeking to kill him.

The stories are incredibly imaginative and the writing is filled with wonderful visual descriptions bringing the graveyard and its inhabitants to life! If you look at the Open Book feature at Amazon you will see that there are nicely spooky illustrations. But do not mistake this story for horror as it is so much more. It is story telling at its best with adventure, humor, creepiness, a bit of the macabre and even moral lessons.

The Audible version is great listening. Neil Gaiman, the author as narrator, provides a fittingly spooky voice. His accent and reading are perfect for the tale. I wanted to listen right through and didn't even let the thought of nightmares stop me. I highly recommend this in Audible, or if you don’t (heaven forbid) do audios yet then get it in another format.  I will be looking for more stories from this author.

A few passages I liked:
Silas comments on the decision to allow the Owens to keep the toddler in the graveyard:
“... It is going to take more than just a couple of good-hearted souls to raise this child.  It will,” said Silas, “take a graveyard.” Page 23.
Bod’s thoughts looking at the treasures (a brooch, a cup and a stone knife) protected by The Sleer:
The treasures of 10,000 years ago were not the treasures of today.
One of the ghosts encourages Bod to consider leaving the graveyard to find adventures in travel:
“If you dare nothing, when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”

This was from my own Audible Library and I am so glad I pulled it to listen!
I will add this to my New Author and Audio Challenge lists.


  1. I read this book years ago and loved it.I should give the audio version a try; it's cool to hear the Gaiman did the narration.

  2. I watched some videos of Neil reading The Graveyard Book and it was fantastic! Then I bought the paperback, but sadly it fell to the sideways with review books...


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