Why I Read It: Stainless Steel Droppings was hosting a read along.
Where I Got It: Own it.
Who I Recommend This To: If you like the scary things to be the good guys, then this ghost story is worth your time.
Publisher: HaprerCollins (2008)
Length: 320 pages
This was a re-read for me and I think I enjoyed this book even more the second time around, mostly because the read along forced me to slow down and savor this book.
Nobody (Bod) Owens’ family was killed by a knife-wielding man Jack while baby Bod wandered out of the house and up the street to a local ancient graveyard. Being pursued by Jack, the graveyard ghosts grant him the protection and freedom of the graveyard. From there, with each consecutive chapter, we see Bod grow up with his ghostly family (The Owenses) and their neighbors. Silas, who is neither dead nor alive, agrees to be his guardian, providing clothes, food, and books.
Miss Lupescu (shape shifter), Scarlett (Bod’s first live friend), and Liza Hempstock (deceased witch) are some of my favorite characters. As Bod ages, he learns about ghouls, school bullies, and eventually the man who killed his first family.
I love this book for many reasons. Neil Gaiman does an excellent job of showing that not all scary things are inherently evil. Each chapter shows yet another facet of the world of the graveyard and those experiences shape Bod as he grows into a young man. I would jump for joy if Gaiman wrote a follow up novel exploring Bod’s life after this book.
What I Liked: The novelty of a book based on a graveyard society; the whole idea of life continuing on after this living, breathing one; Bod turns into a fine young man; I easily got attached to these characters and it was hard to say goodbye to some of them; the ghouls (named after famous people like Victor Hugo and a US president).
What I Disliked: I felt the chapter on the Danse Macabre was left a little too open-ended for me. I wanted to know more.
As part of Stainless Steel Droppings’ R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event, I am going to count this book as Ghost Story. This event is still going strong until the end of October, so feel free to hop over there and join the fun.