The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman I confess, I did not get this book at first. Not until I reached Gaiman's acknowledgements at the back. Oh, I was enjoying it. As is usual for Gaiman, there are wonderful images and episodes as well as many jokes for young and old alike. There were interesting themes and even more interesting crosses of myths and legends. I just didn't understand what Gaiman was trying to do with the big picture. It seemed a little like Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany in which random episodes turn out to be leading the protagonist to his destiny. For much of The Graveyard Book the story does not seem to be building anywhere, but in the end provided Bod with the exact knowledge he needs. Even that left me rather unsatisfied. It was a fun read, but I didn't "get" it. Nor did I understand why the book was given a title that didn't really suit the themes. Then Gaiman thanked Kipling in the acknowledgements. If I had ever read The Jungle Book I have a feeling I might have enjoyed this book all the more -- knowing Gaiman he probably seeded his story with all kinds of things for Kipling fans -- but even just knowing the inspiration really made things click into place and bumped The Graveyard Book's score up a full point.