I think the word ‘meh’ is overused, but if someone asked me what I thought of this book, I would say shrug my shoulders and say ‘meh.’ I hate to say that about Neil Gaiman. And I really hate to say that about a Neil Gaiman book that received so many awards and accolades.
Like many of Gaiman’s books, The Graveyard Book combines elements of fantasy, horror and the supernatural. The premise is clever; a young boy is orphaned as a baby and raised by ghosts in a nearby graveyard. His foster parents name him Nobody Owens or Bod. They could’ve named him Anybody Owens, because, despite his upbringing, Bod is like any other kid. He is curious, introverted, bullied, love struck and eventually longs for a life beyond the graveyard. For me, the best parts of the book dealt with Bod simply as a boy navigating adolescence.
But there are parallel stories of ghosts and shifters and supernatural tokens and a secret society of killers led by “the man Jack.” All these elements may have added pages to the story but I don’t think they always complemented it.
Sometimes if I don’t like a book I dismiss the author altogether. After this book I’m not dismissing Gaiman. I still hope to be a fan. This just wasn’t the book that did it.