Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Graveyard Book

WARNING: This post contains spoilers.

I love Neil Gaiman. I fell in love with his works during college when a friend lent me a Sandman comic. When I finally had the means to do so, I bought the entire Sandman collection (from 1: Preludes and Nocturnes to 10: The Wake) and if I find anything else out there, I buy and will buy them. I love reading stories about The Endless and in my opinion, they're the best stories that Neil Gaiman had ever created.

But I was wrong.

I first read about The Graveyard Book at Neil Gaiman's site last year. As I was not expecting it to be out in the Philippines soon, I forgot about it until I saw it at Powerbooks while I was looking for books to read for our KL trip. I started reading it at the airport while waiting for our flight and finished the book halfway during the 4 hour flight. I was surreptitiously wiping my eyes afterwards as I cried during the last few pages. It was the best book that I have read in AGES (after being disappointed by Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, it was a welcome reprieve)!

What I basically love about it is the premise of the story. It talks about a boy named Nobody Owens or Bod for short, who escaped from being murdered by the person who killed the rest of his family when he was a baby. He was adopted and raised by an old ghost couple living in a graveyard and he has an undead creature as his guardian who brought him food and taught him his letters. The ghosts and his guardian kept him safe inside the graveyard and forbade him from stepping out of his sanctuary with the fear that his life is still in danger with his killer still looking for him.

It was a great ending, with the boy getting his "justice" 15 years later and claiming the freedom to experience the world outside the cemetery. I don't know, but being a mother, I really found the last couple of pages really heartfelt and beautiful. Bod was leaving the cemetery and it was his adoptive ghost-mother who he last saw who bade him goodbye. She sang him the lullaby that she used to sing when he was a baby and she finally remembered the rest of the words which she thought she forgot forever. And my tears just started flowing when he tried to hug her but couldn't anymore.

As I write this, I keep on getting up and looking at my son. I know it's still a long way off before he leaves the nest to experience the world and as early as now, my heart is already crying for that eventuality.

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