This post covers chapters one and two of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. There is still time to participate in the read along (details here). There may be spoilers, so please don’t read this post unless you’ve read those chapters.
The Graveyard Book is a reread for me and I am really loving it and discovering new things that I hadn’t picked up on before. One of the quotes that stood out to me in the early pages of the book was this quote about Bod’s unexpected tumble climbing out of his crib. “He did not cry out, if you cried, they came and put you pack in your crib.” Pg 11
I love how the book opens with the juxtapositions of sadness, danger and innocence. I love how Gaiman can incorporate humor even in the darkest moments. I love that the Owens’ are so pure hearted and that Mrs. Owens is so stubborn. I love that she and her husband wanted a child while they were living and they finally do get that child in death. I thought that added touch was genius on Gaiman’s part. What really made me tear up was that Bod’s mother wanted so much to protect him, even in death.
I really liked the juxtaposition of The Man Jack and Silas. I was fascinated by the line that The Man Jack was dark but that Silas was darker. Normally darkness is symbolic of evil but it becomes fairly clear that Silas is the good guy. Or that at minimum, he is not in league with the Man Jack.
The most fascinating character that we meet in chapter one, in my opinion is the lady on the grey horse. How she speaks to the other members of the graveyard leaves a lot open to interpretation, but her word is taken as law rather than being debated.
I found chapter 2 to be one of the most endearingly odd chapters I’ve ever read. I’m fascinated by the character of Scarlett. I love how her natural innocence and intelligence gives her a sense of bravery when she probably should have been terrified. On themousecircus.com, Gaiman takes about this scene specifically and how it is based on his son riding his bicycle in the graveyard across the street from where they once lived and how at home Gaiman thought he looked there.
Yet as Scarlett is only five years old when we first meet her, I do have some qualms with her parent’s nonchalance. I was mostly concerned with her mother waiting at the bottom of the hill for her and tells her that she basically doesn’t want to be disturbed for half an hour. Is it just me or is that a kidnapper’s dream come true?
I also wonder why Scarlett’s parents aren’t more concerned about her “imaginary friend” considering that she spends so much time in a graveyard. Part of me thinks that perhaps they were putting on a brave face in front of Scarlett but privately looking for alternatives for her, thus the move to Scotland. I found it heartbreaking that Scarlett’s only real friend at that time in her life was Bod.
I can’t wait to see what you all thought of the first two chapters!!