Monday, May 11, 2009

Book Review - The Graveyard Book

I'm kind of bummed to make this my first book review, since I didn't even finish the book, but here it is:

Neil Gaiman's (an author recently brought to the spotlight for his book Coraline, now a movie) The Graveyard Book is the most recent winner of the Newberry Medal, an award for outstanding children's literature. I love children's books, but must say I was pretty disappointed with this. To be honest, the story was fine. It was imaginative, interesting, curious, and often left me wondering what the heck was going on. If done properly, a book which creates these emotions can hook a reader and suck them in for an inevitably good read. However, I did not feel that way. In fact, I couldn't bring myself to finish it.
This is the second time I've tried reading this book, and the second time I've failed to complete it. To be honest, I blame it entirely on the improbability of certain events and facts in the plot. Now, before you get started on the "it's a fantasy, it's supposed to be improbable" standpoint, let me explain. At the beginning of the book, the child is an infant and somehow devises a plan to escape his crib with the thoughts of an average 10 year old. Okay, maybe he's smart for his age. This occurs over and over. In many situations he has the mindset of someone much older than him but there is no reason nor rhyme to this. The author didn't explain that the child was unusual in any way aside from growing up in a graveyard. In fact, I feel the author meant for him to be a "normal" boy. But when I am consistently reminding myself that this boy is only 6 or 7, not 15, I just got annoyed. There was just too much that didn't make sense to me.
Maybe it was the writing style? Maybe it was just me? Either way, I'm telling you why it didn't work for me. I give this a 2 out of 5, mainly because the idea and story was there, but the characters were its ultimate downfall. Obviously, someone liked it (my husband included) to award it a Newberry Medal. But I'll leave that decision to you!