The First Step through the Graveyard (Book)

I finally ventured into the world of Neil Gaiman through grown-up ghost story of The Graveyard Book. I had previously tried to read American Gods because of it’s references to familiar areas, but I couldn’t identify with any of the characters.  However, I fondly recalled watching Coraline, the movie, so I wanted to start with a similar story.  In this tale, a baby escapes his family’s murder by wondering into a graveyard, where he is adopted and protected from the man Jack, who continues to hunt for him.  By growing up in the graveyard, he occupies a space between being noticed and being completely forgotten, like a tombstone with the letters worn away.  He befriends a witch, learns to abide and trust his guardians and all of their forms, and makes his way through the world.  Until he is about 10, his lessons come from the cobweb-filled minds of the graveyard residents, but when he goes to school with his kind, he finds them cruel and needing a lesson of their own. He lures them into the graveyard and uses his powers to scare some sense into them, but a far more frightful creature is closer at hand and still trying to kill him.  The end is predictable and almost uneventful after the adventures that occur in each chapter.  In the end, perhaps the overarching lesson is a reminder about the the reality of invisible childhood friends.

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