My kids age 8, 10, and 12, wife (not giving age), and I all enjoyed The Graveyard Book. Perfect for listening together on our long drive, except that we spent a few minutes in the driveway each time we reached our destination, unable to stop listening. Gaiman's deft presentation kept all ages on the edge of our seats without being too intense for even the youngest listeners.
When I saw that this book was narrated by the author I almost didn't bother to listen to it. I've heard too often the horrible results of authors who think, "Because I wrote it, I can read it." This is not the case with Mr. Gaiman. He was as good a narrator as I've ever heard and better than many.
The subject material was superbly handled. There were so many places the author could have gotten off balance and spoiled the result, but he kept is all perfectly balanced. We had ghosts, and werewolves, and vampires, and ghouls, and humans and yet there were no excesses. There was nothing "fantastic" about any of them. Never was I attracted to a character (and I was attracted to all the characters) because of what he was, but because of who he was. The ending could have been so easily butchered, as so many are, but ending balanced the sad with the hopeful. What a wonderful book.
Of all of the Gaiman I have read, this was the least captivating. Not a bad story, but lacking the imagination and depth of characters and plot i have come to appreciate. Granted this was apparently written for a younger audience, it still felt academic in comparison to works like Neverwhere and Stardust. I listened to this 10 min after finishing American Gods, a masterwork of the author, and could not get over the shallow characters or tepid plot. Maybe im growing up, but I would argue this is the least successful work to date (avail here).
This book was fun for so many reasons. As weird as it may seem, the music interludes were super cool tying the different sections together.
Gaiman of course is a master writer, and it turns out a great narrator as well. The book is full of classic horror character types, some cast in a different light. Sections that take Bod to another dimension really give a feeling of great expanses in space and time. I found myself through the whole book feeling outside of time, meaning the exact setting of the story seems to be shrouded in obscurity (for a great effect), adding to the timeless nature of the dead.
I've read and listened to many of Gaiman's novels both for adults and children and I have to rank "The Graveyard Book" amongst my favorites. First, the episodic style of the novel makes each chapter, save the last two, little vignettes in and of themselves. The listener is vaulted into a complete world that they discover along side of protagonist, Nobody Owens. And just as a child does not question the habits of their parent at first, we do not question that Bod wears a grey sheet, or can move through solid objects. And just as a child learns to question and challenge their parents, we begin to question Bods origins as he does. But I think the reason I most like this book is because Bod does not always get what he wants: a lesson not often learned by children these days.
Neil Gaiman's reading of his own novel is well acted; he makes clear choices for each of his character's voices. The story is as dark and imaginative as ever. If you liked Coraline or Neverwhere, both coming of age stories; both about how powerful children really can be, you will love this book!
I had such a good time listening to this book that I didn't want it to end. After Neverwhere I was afraid that Neil Gaiman couldn't capture my imagination so well again....but he did! This is a lovely, well written book with just enough dark to it. And my, can he read his own work! Very unusual. Note: this is not a book for small children but it will appeal to the child in adults.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Over a hundred audio books in 6 years and this is the first time I was moved to write a review. The book was fun and the narrator completely charming, I can't wait to listen again with the family!
I loved the notion of the ghosts being corporeal enough to care for a baby. I love it when an author can cross the lines between young adult fiction and adult fiction. This book has some unsettling scenes for pre-teens, but for the rest of us, worth the time to listen.