It took a while before I found this book.
The difficulty lay with the cover. When I saw this featured in some newspaper and on Wikipedia, the image was that of Bod and Silas together in a graveyard. The color was white. And everything about it felt light. So that was what I looked for: white and light.
My bookstore of choice was fresh out. And that was the third branch I tried. Feeling frustrated, I went over to another bookstore that I don’t enter as much and there—to my utter surprise—there was The Graveyard Book! In black and blue. And a strangely shaped headstone on the cover. That wasn’t what I was looking for.
Still I bought it, along with another book that would take me by surprise. But that’s for another post.
The Graveyard Book’s appeal to me isn’t just of what it’s inside but what inspired it. Purportedly, Gaiman was at a graveyard and was watching his own kid at play there when the idea struck him to write a Jungle Book type of story. Just change the jungle to a graveyard.
As a kid, we used to live near a cemetery. Or was it a graveyard? What’s the difference? Well, a cemetery is a place where the dead are buried while a graveyard is just like a cemetery but it has to be located near a church. There is a church nearby but it’s outside the walls. But some years after we moved, they built a chapel there. So does that make that cemetery a graveyard now?
Bod’s childhood reminds me of my own. But, nostalgia aside and even if I didn’t have the same setting for memories, I would still love The Graveyard Book. Who writes about growing up surrounded by the dead, the undead, and other creatures of the dark? That alone is quite a hook!
One other thing I loved about the book itself is that I actually have a first edition. I never bothered to check. Only when my friend borrowed it and used it for his cataloguing class did I learn of that. He also loved that book. And so did his friend who borrowed it from him without letting me know—but that’s a whole other story.
For the record, I might just read it again because, yes, it is that good a read.