10.31.2010

The Graveyard Book


The Graveyard Book is an engaging tale about a boy who grows up in a graveyard and is raised by ghosts.  I liked how the things that normal kids might find frightening—ghosts, witches, werewolves, crypts—are the symbols of good in the book, while all the danger stems from the world of the living. I liked that Bod wanted to go to school so he could learn about the world outside of the graveyard, and that he sticks out because of this: “Do you know how weird that is?...Nobody comes to school to learn. I mean, you come because you have to.” (When I was thinking about the “It Gets Better” video last week, I was thinking that I got picked on as a kid because I was fat and because I liked school. And one of my other thoughts on the subject was a theme from Gaiman’s Coraline:  that bravery is not fearlessness, rather it is being scared shitless and doing the thing anyway. The same theme shows up in this book but is less important.) I like that the story needs to have the discussion of why Bod should live. As a boy who grew up among ghosts, he doesn’t immediately see what the big deal about being alive is. (“It’s only death.  I mean, all of my best friends are dead.”)

The author says he was influenced by The Jungle Book.  I’m going to add it to the reading list.

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