Quite often, books fall into one of two traps. The first is “everything happens all at once”, this is because they want to tell a story and they want to tell you all of the story, but they don’t want to drag it out over years, so instead everything happens in a short period of time. A normal person is suddenly thrown into a mess and over the course of a few days the world is saved. The second is “all the boring parts too”, this being where in order to tell the whole story they tell you the whole story, years of a character’s life when large chunks of it are irrelevant.
Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book is how you tell a long story without falling into either trap. This is the story of Nobody Owens, a boy who loses his family and grows up in a graveyard. His tale is told almost as a collection of short stories rather than as one long novel, but there is a common thread throughout and keeps it from being just a collection of shorts. Like a stone across the water, we skip through Bod’s life as he has encounters and experiences that shape him, all the while hiding from the world and the man who might still be looking to kill him.
This book was a fantastic read, and perfect for the month of October and the Halloween season. I enjoyed it thoroughly and can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t.