Cover courtesy of Amazon.com
The Graveyard Book
By Neil Gaiman
Books on CD – Fic G141gr (also available in print in children’s section as Fic G141g)
*Winner of the Audio Publishers Association Audie Award, Newbery Medal, and the ALA Best Book for Young Adults
Nobody Owens, who, as his unusual name would suggest, is anything but ordinary. Just a toddler, the boy escapes his home after his family is gruesomely murdered and wanders into a nearby graveyard. Sensing a need to protect him, the ghosts who reside there adopt the boy and name him Nobody. Being a live boy in a graveyard full of spirits has its advantages, like the skills of fading and dream walking, usually reserved for spirits, but which Bod (as everyone calls him) eventually discovers. And while Bod is busy growing up, his family’s murderer searches the real world for the boy that eluded him.
I was happily surprised when I began listening to this audio book and heard the narrator was the author himself, Neil Gaiman. Gaiman’s deep but soft voice enhances the charming dread that is the overall tone of The Graveyard Book. And being the author, he is able to give the correct inflection to humorous asides that lighten the mood during even the scariest moments. This is what makes The Graveyard Book, one of my favorite Gaiman novels. While technically written for children and young adults, the book is just creepy enough to keep adults entertained, but between Bod’s pluck and his ghost guardians’ absurdity Gaiman manages to take the edge off the terror.
I appreciated that each disc ends at a chapter break, which makes better transition if a reader can’t get to the next disc right away. The audio book also contains music at the beginning and end of each disc signaling the need to switch discs without the jarring interruption of repeating the first track. The somewhat jaunty yet scary music chosen for this, also added to the overall feel of the book as well.
ECC library also has the print edition of The Graveyard Book, which includes beautiful illustrations by Dave McKean, in the children’s collection for anyone wanting to read along with the audio book.
Reviewed by Heather Murray, Reference Librarian