Our discussion of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Last night, we met to discuss The Graveyard Book. Here are some of the comments from readers:
- Theresa started us off by noting that not only did this book have a mention of bacon in it (which apparently, is the theme we unwittingly seem to be following this reading cycle), but that there was a definite "These are not the droids you're looking for" moment in the story.
- Hola said that this was the second Gaiman book that she has read, and it seemed to her to be a combination of Lemony Snicket and David and the Phoenix
- Theresa said that she finds that "Neil likes telling beautiful stories that are a little twisted. He looks at life from a slightly different angle."
- Furry said she found it to be a charming story, but didn't like that there wasn't much explanation of the motivation of the Jacks. She wanted a little more backstory, as did some other readers. aNon said he felt this was the weakest part of the story.
- Readers mentioned that this story reminded them of books by Roald Dahl, and was also reminiscent of some Sandman stories (by Gaiman).
- Hola stated she didn't really like Gaiman's characterization of female characters; they seem to either be baking/mothering or completely unreasonable. Miss Lupescu was the only one who seemed "Boo-Ya!"
- Derek said that to him, overall, it's Neil, so it's still a good story. He liked the little touches in the story, like how Silas is a vampire, but Gaiman just shows this in small ways, instead of making it obvious.
- Eileen said that she had a ton of fun reading it, and that she liked feeling like a kid again. She enjoyed the setting of the graveyard and also liked some of the side characters, like the ghouls. Ed also said he enjoyed it, and had also enjoyed reading the book to his nephew several years ago. He said that it was a good YA book, and that meant that a reader wouldn't be looking for heavy-handed complexity.
- We had some general discussion about what some readers saw as lessons, or opportunities for lessons for young readers, throughout the story. aNon mentioned he thought there would be more of a lesson at the part where Bod encounters the bullies. We talked about how in some YA books, there are definite lessons in the story, but that here, Gaiman doesn't do that. Derek mentioned that it's more about an experience here and that a decision is made, and it's always not a good decision.
- Greg brought up The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, which is a book that many readers have said is a parallel to this story. Greg said that he liked how Gaiman seemed to take that story and bring it into an era that makes sense to young readers now. He also said that he felt that this story was a great way to bridge a gap between older people and very young people, which was something that we all agreed with.
- Lastly, it wouldn't be a good discussion without at least one great quote. This evening's quote came courtesy of Hola, who said, when discussing Bod's encounter with the Sleer and The Man Jack, "I knew he was going to pull this whole Master thing out of his butt!"
We always welcome more discussion, so please feel free to leave us a comment!