There comes a time when children grow up and move away from you and it really does happen faster than you think it will. We focus so much of our time and energy on the rearing of these little people that we forget to enjoy them in the time we have in our lives. Sometimes, we don’t get all the years we think we will to love and appreciate our family.
Neil Gaiman has graced us with another of his spectacular books, this time, it’s called “The Graveyard Book”.
(*Writer admission: I am as obsessed with Gaiman as a person can be. I follow his blogs, his Tumblr, I am envious of his wife, and I routinely post his videos on my Facebook page. If you are a poetry buff, and you haven’t heard him recite his poem, “The Day The Saucers Came” in that fantastic British timbre of his, you really haven’t lived yet. Oh, heck, I’lll embed it below.)
You have to watch it. And, since it’s written by him, you can be assured that it will give you plenty to think about, a lovely story to read and a slightly gothic twist to a genre that might otherwise drown in mild-mannered mediocrity.
This winner of the 2009 Newbery Award spun a wonderful tale that embraces the everyday subjects of children growing up and moving on and also dealing with the loss of family. Nobody Owens is just a toddler at the beginning of the story.
He wanders into a graveyard as his whole family is being murdered by “Jack”, the villain. This little boy is taken in by a ghostly couple and befriended by others, “Silas”, a vampire type character, more of a guardian. Bod does make a friend outside his boundaries, a little girl who thinks he is her imaginary friend.
This young man grows up and pushes his limits as all kids do. He makes mistakes and he makes great decisions. As one reviewer pointed out, adults and parents are just like ghosts to kids, aren’t they?
This is very true, we talk to them and they hear our whispers of wisdom, but they wait until they decide the time is right to recall those humble mutterings we offer and apply them. The cemetery is a place of refuge, of safety, as our homes are.
Although I don’t know how many of us think of the land of the dead as a safe place, but it is for Bod. This is a book that adults have enjoyed reading as mch as the children have, just to get inside the head of a kid whom things haven’t come easy for. To see how he has dealt with his deck of cards and how he moves on knowing the one who killed his family is still looking for him.
Many who loved the tales of “Harry Potter” have fallen hard for “The Graveyard Book,” but don’t read it just because you are a Potter fan. This book stands on its own merit, and its ability to touch the reader build an emotional ties to the individual reader. Open it up and see for yourself what magic waits for you!
The Day the Saucers Came
by Neil Gaiman
Silent, coming down from the sky like great snowflakes,
And the people of Earth stood and
stared as they descended,
Waiting, dry-mouthed, to find out what waited inside for us
And none of us knowing if we would be here tomorrow
But you didn’t notice it because
Was the day that the graves gave up their dead
And the zombies pushed up through soft earth
or erupted, shambling and dull-eyed, unstoppable,
Came towards us, the living, and we screamed and ran,
But you did not notice this because
Ragnarok also, and the television screens showed us
A ship built of dead-men’s nails, a serpent, a wolf,
All bigger than the mind could hold,
and the cameraman could
Not get far enough away, and then the Gods came out
But you did not see them coming because
day the floodgates broke
And each of us was engulfed by genies and sprites
Offering us wishes and wonders and eternities
And charm and cleverness and true
brave hearts and pots of gold
While giants feefofummed across
the land and killer bees,
But you had no idea of any of this because
The Ragnarok and fairies day,
the day the great winds came
And snows and the cities turned to crystal, the day
All plants died, plastics dissolved, the day the
Computers turned, the screens telling
us we would obey, the day
Angels, drunk and muddled, stumbled from the bars,
And all the bells of London were sounded, the day
Animals spoke to us in Assyrian, the Yeti day,
The fluttering capes and arrival of
the Time Machine day,
You didn’t notice any of this because
you were sitting in your room, not doing anything
not even reading, not really, just
looking at your telephone,
wondering if I was going to call.