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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman Essay

The Graveyard Book is a children’s fantasy novel by the English author Neil Gaiman, simultaneously published in Britain and America during 2008. It is set primarily in a graveyard, where the boy Nobody Owens is adopted and raised by the occupants after his family is murdered. Gaiman won both the British Carnegie Medal and the American Newbery Medal recognising year’s best children’s books, the first time both named the same work. The Graveyard Book also won the annual Hugo Award for Best Novel from the World Science Fiction Convention and Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book selected by Locus magazine subscribers. Chris Riddell, who illustrated the British children’s edition, made the Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist. It was the first time in 30-year history that one book made both the author and illustrator shortlists. (Two years later, A Monster Calls won both medals.)

About The Author:
Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman

Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman (born 10 November 1960) is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has won numerous awards, including Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, Newbery Medal, and Carnegie Medal in Literature. He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book (2008).

Characters:

Nobody Owens ( Bod)
– A boy whose family was murdered and now is living and being raised by the ghosts of the graveyard while learning things that the ghosts do. Silas
– He is Bod’s guardian and stays in the graveyard, he is neither dead nor alive. Miss Lupescu
– She is the lady that subsitutes for Silas while he is gone. She is a Hound of God. Liza Hempstock
– She is the witch that is buried in potter’ feild, the feild next to the graveyard where they bury the people that are not blessed. She is one of Bod’s best friends. Scarlett Amber Perkins

– She became Bod’s friend when they were young and her parents had convinced her that he was imaginay and made up.

The Man Jack
– this is the man that murdered Bod’s family and was also supposed to murder Bod but failed and is still trying to do so. He is a member of the Jacks Of All Trades.

Mr. And Mrs. Owens
– They are the ghosts that adopted and named Bod and agreed to be his parents.

Summary:

Jack (usually referred to in the novel as ‘the man Jack’) has murdered all the members of a family except for the toddler upstairs. Unknown to him, the toddler has climbed out of his crib to explore. The toddler crawls out of the house and up a hill to a graveyard where the ghosts find him. They discuss whether to keep him until the Lady on the Grey (implied to be the Angel of Death) appears and suggests that the baby should be kept (“The dead should have charity”). The ghosts accept and Mrs. Owens (the ghost who first discovered the baby) and her husband, Mr. Owens, become the foster parents.

The baby is named Nobody Owens (as Mrs. Owens declares “He looks like nobody except himself”) and is granted the Freedom of the Graveyard. The caretaker Silas (strongly implied to be a vampire) accepts the duty of providing for Nobody. The man Jack is persuaded that the toddler has crawled down the hill, and he eventually loses the trail. The book is about Nobody’s (often called Bod) adventures in and out of the graveyard as he grows up. As a boy, he befriends a girl called Scarlett Perkins and she is eventually convinced by her mother that he is her imaginary friend. It is with her that Bod discovers a creature called the Sleer, who has been waiting for thousands of years for his “Master” to come and reclaim him. Scarlett’s parents believe she has gone missing during this adventure, and when she returns consequently decide to move the family to Scotland.

Nobody is once captured by the Ghouls and then rescued by his tutor Miss Lupescu, discovering she is a Hound of God (i.e. a werewolf).  Bod befriends Elizabeth Hempstock, the ghost of an unjustly-executed witch, and, through a short adventure that includes being kidnapped by a greedy pawnshop owner, finds a gravestone for her. Once, he tries to attend regular primary school with other human children but it ends in a disaster as two bullies make it impossible for him to maintain a low profile. Throughout his adventures, Bod learns supernatural abilities such as Fading, Haunting, and Dream Walking, taught by his loving graveyard parents, his ghost teacher Mr Pennyworth, and Silas.

On Bod’s 14th year at the graveyard, Silas and Miss Lupescu both leave to attend some business. Meanwhile, Scarlett and her mother come back to the town as her parents have divorced and she and Bod reunite. Scarlett has also made friends with a historian called Mr. Jack Frost who is living in a house not too far from the graveyard. Researching the murder of Bod’s family, Scarlett learns that the historian lives in the house that Bod once lived in. When showing Bod the room he lived in as a baby, Mr Frost reveals that he actually is the man Jack; Jack Frost is his full, true name. Bod is attacked by the man Jack and four other members of the Order.

Bod and Scarlett escape to the graveyard where Bod is able to defeat each Jack separately, except for Jack Frost. Jack Frost takes Scarlett captive in the chamber of the Sleer but is then tricked by Bod into claiming himself as the Sleer’s master. The Sleer engulfs Jack Frost in an “embrace” and they disappear into the wall. A now-grown Bod is losing the Freedom of the Graveyard and even his ability to see ghosts. Silas gives Bod money and a passport with the name, says his good-byes to his family and friends, and leaves the graveyard to embark on a new life.

Critical Analysis:

“The Graveyard Book is endlessly inventive, masterfully told, and, like Bod himself, too clever to fit into only one place. This is a book for everyone. You will love it to death.”
─ Holly Black co- creator of the Spiderwick Chronicles “After finishing The Graveyard Book, I had only one thought─I hope there’s more. I want to see more of the adventures of Nobody Owens, and there is no higher praise for a book.” ─ Laurell K. Hamilton author of the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter novels “The boundaries are always there─between the graveyard and the world beyond, between life and death, and the crossing of them.” ─ Neil Gaiman author of this book

“This is, quite frankly, the best book Neil Gaiman has ever written. How he has managed to combine fascinating, friendly, frightening and fearsome in one fantasy I shall never know, but he has pulled it off magnificently – perfect for Halloween and any other time of the year.”

— Diana Wynne Jones author of The Chronicles of Chrestomanci| “I wish my younger self could have had the opportunity to read and re-read this wonderful book, and my older self wishes that I had written it.” — Garth Nix author of The Abhorsen Trilogy| “It takes a graveyard to raise a child. My favorite thing about this book was watching Bod grow up in his fine crumbly graveyard with his dead and living friends. The Graveyard Book is another surprising and terrific book from Neil Gaiman.” — Audrey Niffenegger author of The Time Traveler’s Wife| |

“The Graveyard Book manages the remarkable feat of playing delightful jazz riffs on Kipling’s classic Jungle Books. One might call this book a small jewel, but in fact it’s much bigger within than it looks from the outside.”

— Peter S. Beagle author of The Last Unicorn | “The Graveyard Book is everything everyone loves about Neil Gaiman, only multiplied many times over, a novel that showcases his effortless feel for narrative, his flawless instincts for suspense, and above all, his dark, almost silky sense of humor.” — Joe Hill author of Heart–Shaped Box | “The Graveyard Book confirms what I’ve always thought: Neil Gaiman is a literary genius!” — James Herbert author of The Secret of Crickley Hall|

Reflection:
The Graveyard Book
By Neil Gaiman

Truly a wonderful novel with an amazing story. This novel is a must-read to not only young fellow but also to those who have heart on reading. This adventurous novel, I think, is entitled “The Graveyard Book” because, from the setting, the story happened on or in the graveyard itself and the main character’s life is connected into the graveyard. I highly recommend this book to book-lovers like me. A fictional book that comes from the mind and heart of Neil Gaiman. I love this luminous novel about life and death, love and growing-up, and finding family in the most unlikely places.


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