“What would you do to keep me here? Kill me?”

Have you ever been to a graveyard? If you have, you must have got the ominous feeling that something is not right there, you feel a gust of the wind that blows your hair and you think that it was done by some force that is acting upon you and will probably kill you like they killed those guys in that horror movie that you ‘saw’. You start to get goosebumps for no reason (except for maybe that ghost?) and you want to scream for help or run out of the graveyard acting like a lunatic. That is precisely what you would want to do if you are in a graveyard because that is the imagery you have of ghosts; they are these terrifying creatures who lurks in shadows and hunt for blood and eat humans: that is the image that you have of ghosts.

Now try to take a different look at ghosts. Do you have a friendly face in your neighborhood that always makes you smile when you look at that person? It can be your girlfriend or your crush or even the old grandma who might even have a dead body buried in her backyard garden. Now, envisage ghosts being like that familiar face in your neighborhood, do they scare you now? If they do, you have very creepy neighbors.

The Graveyard book is that friendly neighbor and its ghosts are equally friendly (unless they are your enemies).

One day, an infant’s family is murdered, but he escapes by crawling, using those tiny hands and legs tirelessly but not feeling the weight nor the pain that it is causing him, little did he know that he is walking away from a trouble and maybe into one. He surprisingly ends up at the gates of a graveyard not too far from his home.

Jack The Killer is searching for the boy because he can not leave a job unfinished, he sets on to search the infant………and kill him.

Meanwhile, the infant is at the gates of a graveyard and then a ghost, Mrs. Owens sees the infant and due to her inability to carry a child while she was human, she picks up the little one and is immediately filled with motherly love that she craved for. The other ghosts in the graveyard are against her raising the kid because a human being raised by ghosts is not the most sincere idea either for ghosts or for humans. But Mrs. Owens (like most women do) convinces everyone and along with her husband raises the infant, now named, Nobody Owens.

The search leads to nowhere and Jack The Killer, finds ‘nobody’ and nothing but empty streets and cold air. He hasn’t finished the job; he hasn’t finished the job.

Thus beings the credulous journey of Nobody Owens as he grows up with ghosts and tries to counterbalance his feeling of normal life with his ghostly life. Jack The Killer also grows impatient and more psycho with time because of not being able to finish the job. Thus beings the journey as Nobody grows-up and encounters Jack, yet again.

“You remember me.” Said the boy, the architect of all her misfortunes.

You might deduce from the synopsis that it is an adult book, it is not. If anything, it is far from an adult novel. What this is, is a light heart, coming-of-age story with emotions that you felt somewhere in your life. Being naive, always trying to find adventure, trying to figure out love, or wanting to explore. Sometimes you miss being a juvenile, sometimes all you can think of is future. You can not feel those emotions again; you just can’t. But that does not mean you can not experience them through someone else’s eyes and experiences. Nobody Owens is that kid: Nobody Owens is YOU when you were ten years old and figuring the world out. Nobody Owens is:



The only reason I bought this book was because it was on discount. Yes, as ignorant as it may sound, that is the only reason I bought it and I didn’t know that it was a middle-grade story. From the cover and the synopsis, it looked like a YA book.

I wasn’t much invested in the story for at least fifty pages. But as more and more characters were introduced, it started to get interesting because of the diversity of those characters. By the time I was hundred-pages in, there had been ghouls, Nobody’s caretaker Silas, and some other characters. All of them had their different ways to talk, and they had witty humor which I can’t help but smile at. As the story progressed, the amount of characters in the story kept increasing. As old characters were gone, new ones replaced them; this can be perilous because characters might not be able to establish themselves in the world and they might not be able to justify their presence, but Neil Gaiman entwined them together so adroitly that all of those characters had a story of their own. While the plot was predictable for the most part, the promise of more interesting characters was the only reason I wanted to read further.

I don’t know towards whom Neil Gaiman targeted the story, but I would say one thing, it left me with emotions I never thought this book would have in the first place. By the time I finished it, I was happy, I was sad, I was grown-up, I was ten years old again. This is like the coming-of-age story that we don’t know we want to read until we just do. It can transform you into that kid, regardless of your age, weather you’re twenty or sixty. The story has a little bit of everything for everyone.

I was never a person of short stories. I hated to read short stories because, well, they are short. I found it difficult to connect with characters in a short span of time that I can do so easily when a book is as long as six hundred pages because I can spend extra time with those characters and get to know them, I don’t use to feel that connection in a short story, well, I didn’t USE to feel it. Neil Gaiman has changed the way I read short stories. In such a short book(it is around three hundred and fifteen pages long) I related and fell in love with so many characters that I never thought could make me feel anything. I use to see ghouls as these creatures that I have to kill in Dark Souls. Now, I see them as creatures of the night, creatures who dwells in underground and have a secret society and who are kidnapping children for their own twisted needs. I found that the heart of these short stories lies in small details, these details can transform this small world into something bigger, bigger than the biggest worlds of biggest novels. 

“People want to forget the impossible. It makes their world safer.”


2 thoughts on “Book Review – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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