Nobody Owens lives in a graveyard. His adoptive parents are ghosts. His teachers are ghosts. His guardian lives in a world between the human and spirit realms.
Bod, as his family calls him, is a lovable boy. And author Neil Gaiman creates a memorable character as he describes the boy’s life and adventures.
Gaiman, author of “Coraline,” “American Gods,” the “Sandman” graphic novel series as well as other tales, takes a short story from his collection “M is for Magic” and expands on it in “The Graveyard Book.”
As a baby, Bod narrowly escapes death when his family is murdered by the man Jack, a mysterious fellow. Bod crawls away and into the graveyard, where ghosts adopt him. There he is raised and protected, fed, clothed and schooled. But, he can’t leave the graveyard because the man Jack still wants to finish the job he started.
Bod seems mostly satisfied with his life, as the graveyard holds plenty of opportunity for adventure. Even though he's granted special powers as a resident of the graveyard, curious Bod manages to get himself into plenty of trouble as he encounters, among other things, a witch, a hound of God and a ghoul city.
“Even from the path below Ghulheim, even from miles away, Bod could see that all of the angles were wrong — that the walls sloped crazily, that it was every nightmare he had ever endured made into a place, like a huge mouth of jutting teeth. It was a city that had been built just to be abandoned, in which all the fears and madnesses and revulsions of the creatures who built it were made into stone. The ghoul-folk had found it and delighted in it and called it home.”
Gaiman peppers humor throughout the book, most notably the headstone inscriptions, such as the one for “Miss Letitia Borrows, Spinster of this Parish (Who Did No Harm to No Man all the Dais of Her Life. Reader, Can You Say Lykewise?)”
“The Graveyard Book” is a fun read for all ages, and Halloween is a perfect time to enjoy this tale about little Nobody and his ghost family.
As an added treat, Neil Gaiman himself will be in town soon. The author will discuss his work and influences at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, as part of the Vegas Valley Book Festival. Wristbands will be given out starting at 6 p.m. on a first come, first serve basis, and seating will be directed.