Neil Gaiman’s Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book
Neil Gaiman

A riff off of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, this is a middle grade reader sort of book that I really enjoyed. It doesn't have the torturous language or moralism of Kipling's 1897 book, but it does have the structure: stories within a story building up to the finale. Parts of the story seem to have been kept deliberately shallow. It may be that I don't judge the audience very well; since the Girl Unit isn't home I don't have her opinion to help guide me. As an adult reader I found myself thinking that he hadn't gone into more detail with one thing or another because its a middle grade reader. A middle grade reader might notice the lack of detail and feel talked down to, though.

Looking at the (very few in number) poor reviews on Amazon.com (I like to see what people didn't like about books that I like, I find it educational), the things that other people seemed to find most upsetting was a middle grade reader starting with a bloody murder and the supposed lack of happy ending. The ending is not unhappy and ends very much like Jungle Book. The story has ended well, but the boy's story is in many ways just beginning. We don't really need to know what happened to him after this. Chances are he finished growing up, became a tax accountant and now has 3 kids, a dog and an odd penchant for ouija boards.

The whole "how dare he start a book for children with murder?" crowd simply mystifies me. I've no clue what they've been reading or what reality they've been living in, but golly, everything from Snow White on up has that sort of stuff. Unless you're going to keep your kids reading Teddy Ruxpin flip out books for their entire lives, they *are* going to come across some unhappy scenes in literature.

If you don't mind reading middle grade readers, I highly recommend Graveyard Book to anyone.

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