The Graveyard Book Read Along Part III

Heldig doesn’t like to share her napping place.

Once again, let me thank Stainless Steel Droppings for hosting this read along. This is the third and final installment of this event.

Spoilers Range Loose and Unfettered

In case you haven’t read the previous parts:

Part I

Part II

In Chapter 7, a lot of cool, wicked, and important stuff happens. For me, there were two hard things – Miss Lupescu’s death and Bod regains his friend Scarlett only to drive her away. However, there is also the satisfaction of Mr. Jack Frost coming to a deserved end and also learning more about the Sleer.

I have to go on a bit about the society of Every Man Jack: Jack Dandy, Jack Nimble, Jack Ketch, Jack Frost and Jack Tar. Jack Dandy was familiar to me as referring to someone who enjoys garish clothing, hats, and perhaps wigs and canes. Apparently, ‘dandy’ has meant pretty much just this since the 1700s.

Did you know that Jack Nimble use to be a pirate? An English pirate, Black Jack, from the 16th century. Somehow, he went from that to nursery rhymes. I thank Gaiman for pointing back to Jack N.’s original inclinations.

Jack Ketch of the 1600s held the office of Executioner, and on occasion, he botched a job. This would lead to a prolonged execution. It’s amazing the stuff you can find on Wikipedia. I have to wonder how much of this stuff Gaiman had kicking around his head over the years?

Jack Frost is common in American culture as the harbinger of winter. Unfortunately, my society has also made several bad movies about Jack Frost. In particular, there was this very questionable movie I saw  in some hotel room on a forced family expedition that featured Jack Frost as a snowman. If you know this movie, then that particular scene with the carrot in the shower has kept me steering clear of any Frost movies since then.

Our last Jack, Jack Tar, is a little boring, simply being a WWI seaman.

OK. I have gone on long enough about ancient bad guys and nursery rhymes and poor choices in hotel tv. A quick recap of Chapter 7: Bod (~14 yrs. old) is missing Silas and Lupescu, who are off in foreign places with a small pig fighting Jack Badness. Scarlett and her divorced mom have returned to the area and Scarlett comes across a man taking headstone rubbings for a community history project in the old neighborhood. Of course this man, Jack Frost, is hunting Bod. Bod doesn’t know this, but he does eventually recognize Scarlett and they renew their friendship. Frost waits for his opportunity to strike and when he does so, Bod realizes who he is. A merry, twisted chase through the graveyard ensues with the Jacks mentioned above. Scarlett hides in the Sleer hill crypt, where Frost eventually finds her. The Sleer haven’t had so much company since they were buried and I doubt they will be serving tea. Jack Frost is defeated and the Sleer made ecstatically happy, and Scarlett had to have her memory (Bod and all) wiped by the returned Silas.

Chapter 8 finds Bod old enough to leave the graveyard and enter the world of the living. His fading abilities to commune with the ghosts are a huge hint by Fate for him to move on and start living his life. This final chapter was bittersweet. We have to say goodbye to most of the characters we met along the way. Sniffle…

Does anyone else hope that someday Neil Gaiman returns to this world?

What do you think about the Sleer and their coils?

While I get that the Jacks are bad, I still don’t get exactly what all they do? Anything and everything naughty and despicable?

Will you be reading another Gaiman novel soon?

Thanks everyone for stopping by throughout the read along!

18 thoughts on “The Graveyard Book Read Along Part III”

  1. Heldig really does NOT enjoy sharing that space. So funny.
    Miss Lupescu’s death shocked me almost a bit. No,not almost, it saddened me a lot.
    I was wondering about the meaning of all those Jacks, thanks so much for sharing this. These are momenst where I realize I’m not a native English speaker as I hadn’t heard of most of them, not even Jack Frost. Some I see are hostorical figures but some are part of language usage, right?
    I was wondering at the end, whether he would ever write a book about Bod’s later life. I’d love to read it.

    1. I too was very sad about Miss Lupescu’s death. Sigh… but it’s great that we can visit her again the next time we read the book.
      Yes – like Jack Tar would be a nickname given to US and Britain sailors – because they used a lot of tar to weather proof bits of the ships. While Jack Nimble, etc. are historical figures. And nursery rhymes, which I think harkens back to times when we told our kids stories that actually warned them of real danger.

  2. Thank you for the information about the Jacks. I knew they were all familiar names, but I wasn’t sure about the origins of them.

    I think this book left a lot of question unanswered, but sometimes I prefer it that way. And I think it’s great in a kids book, you can use your imagination to fill in the details.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the Jack info. I had fun looking it all up.

      I think it shows great skill int he writer to create a book that fascinates both adults and kids. Having read Gaiman’s adult stuff, at first I wasn’t sure I would like his kid stuff. But I have found it to be very satisfying.

  3. You are so right, there are two very devastating parts of the end and you nailed both of them. It breaks my heart when Bod discovers Miss Lupescu didn’t survive and that he won’t be able to talk to her again and it is so hard to see Scarlet return only to be driven away. That is a very realistic reaction to be terrified by Bod, but it still feels so harsh and cruel…a little like life sometimes, eh?

    I’m so glad you talked about all the Jacks. I always wonder about them but then never remember to look anything up about them. Awesome of you to do that, I loved it!

    I wouldn’t mind Gaiman returning to Bod’s adventures. I’d also like him to return to Richard and Door from Neverwhere and would love a novel about all the adventures hinted at at the end of Stardust.

    Having just re-read Neverwhere and this I’ll probably take a Gaiman break for awhile. Or maybe not as I’m going to read his short story in Shadow Show for sure before I have to take it back to the library. 🙂

    So great of you to join us for this group read. It is a novel with a sniffle or two, but it is oh so great. Thank you!!!

    1. One of the things I like about Gaiman is that the endings don’t have to be happy, but they don’t lack hope and satisfaction either.

      Thanks again for hosting!

      1. Yes, there is often that little bit of reality mixed in with his fantasy. Life doesn’t promise to be easy or without woe but that doesn’t keep it from being hope-filled and adventurous. The two go hand in hand and I like that Gaiman recognizes that in his fiction.

  4. Great info on the Jacks – I thought they were a brilliant creation.
    I was really sad about Miss Lupescu too – she was so great with Bod. And also about Scarlett – such a sad ending but it sort of felt inevitable.
    Lynn 😀

  5. Great delve into the Jacks of all Trades!

    I had several unanswered questions about the Sleer, the purpose of the Jack’s and why Bod and his 1st family were targeted, but still thoroughly enjoyed the book for the character developments alone.

    I plan to read more Gaiman at some point. I’ve had Stardust on my tbr shelf for ages and have an interest in American Gods, too. What about you?

    1. You’ve hit 2 of my favorite Gaiman books (American Gods & Stardust). I think I need to do a reread of Stardust as it has been a few years. While I have watched Coraline, I haven’t actually read it yet.

      1. Coraline was actually my first Gaiman book. It caught my eye years ago when I helped out at my daughters’ elementary school library and I borrowed it using my daughter’s school library card! ha! I later bought our own copy from a scholastic book fair so the girls could read it at their leisure, which they both eventually did.

        I think Carl is considering doing a read-along of Stardust in the spring for his Once Upon a Time event, so if you’ll have the perfect opportunity to re-read it! 🙂

  6. My cat will sleep on the book so I have to pet him. And if I don’t, he’ll bite my hand. Thanks for all the Jack info. I was sad when this story came to an end. I ended up really liking Bod and I would to find out how his adult life progresses. And Miss Lupescu — I wasn’t expecting that and didn’t want it to happen. Gaiman has a way of making me love his characters.

    1. Ah, Ms. Lupescu… sigh. I would love a spin off novel on her alone.

      Heldig will sit on my chest in the morning, purring to wake me up to make her breakfast. If purring doesn’t work, biting my nose always does.

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