Neil Gaiman Writes an Exciting Tale About ‘Nobody’ At All

Cover of the Graveyard Book

Photo Credit: via Wikipedia

Cover of the Graveyard Book

By: Jacob Darcy, Spring Reporter

Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book published in 2008 won several medals, including the Newbery and the Carnegie Medals, and even more interesting, it received these honors despite the main character being Nobody at all.

Jokes aside, The Graveyard Book is the story of a boy named Bod, short for Nobody Owens, who lives in a graveyard because his family had been murdered when he was just a baby. While the novel is aimed at a somewhat younger audience, the inclusion of the gruesome scene at the novel’s beginning may push that up. The novel itself uses the widely used chapter format, with every chapter being a different short story about something that happened in Bod’s life. This method of storytelling by Gaiman makes the novel ideal for reading in short stints, such as before bed or while travelling.

As for the novel itself, it begins it’s story by telling the reader how a family was murdered in the middle of the night, but before the job was completed, the lone survivor, the youngest child who is only a small baby escapes to a local graveyard. Once he arrives there the baby is adopted by the inhabitants of the graveyard, who just happen to be ghosts. The child is raised by Mr. and Mrs. Owens, a ghostly couple that lives in the graveyard, with a spirit that isn’t dead nor alive named Silas also helping out here and there. While growing up, Bod learns how to read, about math, the stars, and several ghostly powers such as how to ‘fade’ and walk through walls. In addition, Bod gets Freedom of the Graveyard, meaning that he can communicate with the dead, move through walls as mentioned before, and is invisible to humans, as long as he remains within the graveyard.

In an ironic twist, the reader ends up knowing more about Bod than he knows about himself, because while the reader knows that Bod is an orphan, he doesn’t even know about that until he is almost ten years old. The reader having more information about Bod gives the novel a very melancholy tone, and makes the reader more protective over Bod, much like the graveyard inhabitants do. Despite those feelings, the reader still ends up seeing Bod as powerful, because of all the powers he’s learned in his time in the graveyard. That opinion of Bod grows and grows until the climax of the book, where Bod doesn’t seem week at all.

While the ending of the novel leaves readers on a bit of a cliffhanger, and Gaiman has hinted at a sequel, nothing has yet been released. However it would be very nice to see a sequel detailing Bod’s adventures beyond the graveyard.