Sunday, August 23, 2009

"The Graveyard Book"

Okay so the truth is that the Cheesy Bread stuff that I posted turned out kind of gross. It sounded good. It might have even looked good, but nay it did not taste good or sit on the stomach very well. So proceed with caution.

In totally other news however, I did recently finish reading "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman. I have been a fan of Gaiman ever since his Sandman (genius) Graphic novel days, and he has only evolved since then. When he was promoting "American Gods" I had the life-completing opportunity to attend a book signing at Jo-Beth Cafe. Ever so much fun. Of course scads of people attended dressed up like his Sandman's Endless characters, myself included. Three guesses as to what character I picked. Of course there are about twenty more girls dressed exactly like me, plus a handful of Deliriums, and a very few Desires. No Dreams anywhere in sight. Bummer. So anyway, I make my way up to the line where he is signing the books. He is handed my books "American Gods" and "Death: the High Cost of Living". He pauses, his hand poised over the book cover. His eyes flick up to me as the lady next to him tells him my name. He looks me over solidly taking in my black clad get up, the ankh necklace, over sized belt, and combat boots, and says in his I'm-so-British accent "Well, I've never seen that one before," and proceeds to sign my book.
It was all I could do not to jump up and down and squeal.
As far as all that goes, it remains one of my favorite celebrity memories, right up there with David Carradine, and Amy Grant.
But back to his most recent endeavor. Gaiman is such a skillful story teller that you get plunged into the tale without even realizing that there is a moral. He is a master at asking the question "What if?" and then following through until the story is complete. The Graveyard Book is a story of Nobody, young Nobody Owens who escaped murder as a toddler and is thereby raised by a family of ghosts in a nearby graveyard, including a non-ghost mysterious guardian by the name of Silas. Answering to the moniker Bod, he grows up an anomaly, a living boy among the dead. The apparent macabre nature of the story is quickly balanced out by the innocence of the boy and the genuine affection that the disembodied souls have for him. The story of Bod, beginning when his a little boy jumps forward every few years. He is befriended by another living child at age five, a girl whose family lives nearby. Along the way he meets ghouls, werewolves, thieves and assassins. Ultimately the story culminates when Bod must inevitably confront his would be murderer, when he is a young man of fourteen.
One thinks this is just a story at first. The answer to the question "What if?" And while in many ways this is true, it is also very much a story about potential, about finding ones true self and being who you are. The story of Nobody Owens teaches that things do not always turn out the way you want them to but that that is also okay.
I cannot give anything by Neil Gaiman a bad review and so with that I must admonish all of you to go out and read "The Graveyard Book".


christie said...

I just read Gaiman's "Neverwhere." He is SPECTACULAR - and I was afraid to see the movie version of Coraline because the book freaked me out so much. He's just a master at the slightly-askew-from-reality aesthetic. :)

GothGirl said...

I ADORE Neil Gaiman. The man could write a grocery list and I would read it. I have not seen Coraline yet, but I do own the book. Do you recommend it then?