“If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.” – Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard book by Neil Gaiman
Nobody Owens, Bod for short, is just a normal little boy with an extraordinary life abound with strange circumstance.
Orphaned as a toddler after his family was brutally murdered, the young child had wandered into the graveyard on the hill, where he’d been found by its resident spirits.
Adopted into the world of the dead, Bod was raised and educated by the ghosts of the graveyard and his solitary and elusive guardian, Silas, a creature who was neither of the living nor the dead.
But the graveyard is as dangerous as it is magical, and the world beyond is out of his reach until the man Jack, the person responsible for the death of his living family, has been removed as a threat to Bod’s life.
The graveyard has many mysteries and is full of adventure and fantasy, and to Bod it is his home and he will protect it at all costs, even against a person as ruthless as the man Jack.
Every single character in this book is absolutely terrific, but I would have to say that Bod, Silas and Miss. Lupescu are by far my favourites.
Let’s start with Nobody Owens; Bod is the main character of the story and the book is largely in his Point of View.
The reader follows Bod as he grows and learns, all the way up to the point where his life in the graveyard inevitably ends when he is safe from the Jacks of All Trades.
Because of this Bod is perhaps the most well-developed character in the entire book, and I really enjoyed following his story.
He is smart, funny and sweet and uncanny and just all around lovable.
Bod is a rather mature child, and is one of the few children I’ve come across who actually enjoys learning (Recall Matilda and Hermione Granger) and it’s one of the reasons I adore him so much.
His mannerisms and oddities make him endearing and entertaining and he grows and learns from his mistakes, his character development is simply magnificent and I can’t really put it into words.
He has a dry sense of humour, and is all around very serious and he’s the type of character who has a deadpan tone of voice (In a good way) that makes you wonder if he’s being serious or joking with you, (hint: he’s probably being serious)
All in all, Nobody Owens will always hold a place in my heart and he’s easily become one of my favourite characters.
Let us move on to Silas, when the Owens family adopted Bod when he first came to the graveyard, Silas had voluntarily agreed to become his guardian.
Silas was responsible for caring for Bod’s needs and bringing him basic necessities such as food and clothes until a time came that Bod grown.
Silas is the embodiment of the solitary character; he speaks little and prefers his own company.
His past and existence is shrouded in mystery and he comes and goes from the graveyard as he pleases, a feat which the other residents cannot carry out.
Silas is a creature whose reality is with neither the living or the dead and as such he lies on the fringe of existence.
He is wise and aloof, but protective of the graveyard and more importantly, fiercely protective of Bod.
Silas is a responsible character and plays the part of Bod’s mentor, he’s the kind of character who may not say much but on the occasions that he does speak, it’d do you good to listen.
Silas is just an amazing character, and I am guilty for often being drawn in by characters like him, but his archetype is one that I have adored for as long as I can remember and that’s something that will never change.
Miss Lupescu is one of Silas’s acquaintances and the reader is first introduced to her early on in the story when Silas had to leave to attend to business for a few weeks and had asked Miss Lupescu to take his place as Bod’s guardian until his return.
Bod’s relationship with Miss Lupescu has a rocky start, they do not see eye to eye and Bod misses Silas’s cool demeanour which has been replaced with Miss Lupescu’s harsh presence.
That being said, their relationship develops over the course of her stay comes to a head when Bod is captured by a group of ghouls and Miss Lupescu comes to the rescue.
Things start to mellow out from there on and the two find common ground soon enough and actually begin to enjoy each other’s company.
Miss Lupescu is a classic example of the character archetype ‘cold exterior but a soft heart’. She isn’t painted as an antagonist in the eyes of the other inhabitants of the graveyard but is portrayed as such through Bod’s eyes which stays true to his character.
I’m a sucker for characters like Miss Lupescu, and I loved reading about her. While their relationship came off to a rocky start, I rather enjoyed its path of development.
My only complaint is that she didn’t appear very much in the book after her introduction early on, but other than that just like Silas and Bod she was a fantastic character in my eyes and I won’t soon forget her.
As for the other characters in the book, I rather enjoyed them. All the ghosts of the graveyard had such unique personalities and mannerisms, they really made the book what it is.
Even the antagonists, the Jacks of All Trades were interesting to read about, and not once did I find myself getting bored.
In conclusion, the characters were all around terrific and memorable.
Thanks to this book, I have been sulking in the corner with tears streaming down my face as I try and fail to piece my heart back together.
Not many books can deliver such an ache at their end and you know it’s a good book when it does.
The story of The Graveyard Book is a bittersweet tale of a boy’s life among the dead.
I fell in love with the characters; with Bod and Silas and Miss Lupescu.
I lost myself in the whimsy and fantasy of the graveyard.
And I found myself within the story itself.
I think what really got me was the ending.
It was as sad as it was hopeful, with Bod’s life ending among the dead and beginning again amongst the living.
I won’t spoil it for anyone yet to read this extraordinary tale, but let’s just say that the last twenty or so pages brought me close to shedding a tear (bear in mind I said CLOSE, no one can prove that I ugly cried as I turned the last page).
One thing I adore Gaiman for in this book; NO ROMANCE, thank you sir.
In the story Bod has a friend names Scarlett whom he met when he was five and reunited with nearly ten years later.
Now, for those of you who have been on this blog for a while will recall that I absolutely hate the presence of a romantic subplot where it has no business being.
When Bod faces off against the Jacks, he hides Scarlett in the graveyard and keeps her safe, at the end of it, instead of thanking him and fulfilling the role of the damsel in distress, she shuns Bod and calls him a monster before Silas erases her memories.
While this is albeit incredibly sad and heart breaking for Bod, as Scarlett was his only friend among the living, it’s realistic and somewhat unexpected as writers often don’t go for this sort of thing, I personally don’t think I would have either.
But it makes sense, and isn’t unnecessarily complicated and in time Bod comes to understand this too.
Anyways, I loved that Gaiman did not add an unnecessary subplot and he did it remarkably well. It’s just another reason as to why this is a terrific book.
But I have been rambling for far too long.
The Graveyard Book has easily become one of my favourite books of all time, it’s a magical, entrancing and bittersweet story that one can’t help but fall in love with.
One last thing before I leave you, I would recommend that you download the full cast audio production of this book from Audible.
I don’t say this because I’m being paid to market it, but I listened to that audiobook while reading this and it was absolutely wonderful; beautifully produced and effortless in capturing a reader’s attention.
Just a thought.
I would recommend this as a must read for anyone who enjoys urban fantasies and whimsical stories.