When I was a little kid, The Jungle Book has always been my favourite animation movie. I remember liking it more than other Disney’s classics (I watched TONS of cartoons!). I am not sure what intrigued me the most: was it the story, about a human boy raised by animals and lives in a jungle is peculiar enough for the five years old me, or the thought of such scenario can exist in real life bewildered my young mind and push my imagination up and beyond.
Last week, after years of not caring and postponing, I found myself reading Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and yep you are right! I loved every page of it.
Inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, the horror-fiction bestseller tells the story of a toddler who grew up at the nearby graveyard after his entire family is grisly murdered by ‘the man Jack’. The mischievous toddler accidentally escaped from his crib and found himself in the small town’s graveyard. After much debating, the graveyard residents decided to take him in and named him “Nobody Owens”, or short for Bod.
As the years passed by, we follow young Bod growing up, asking a lot of questions, learning new lessons while facing exciting adventures one after another. From the mean Ghouls who have ulterior motives; greedy shopkeeper; to school’s bully who got what they deserve – Bod has managed to keep himself busy in the graveyard.
Of course, that’s not going to stay long since the man Jack is still alive and planning to complete his mission once and for all.
This is my first time reading Neil Gaiman’s work and without a doubt I am his new awestruck fan. His writing style, albeit this is a children’s literature, is no where child-like nor its dumb down. Each of the character is splendid and served its purpose for the bigger picture. Bod as the child hero is my favourite. He reminds me of Mowgli from The Jungle Book, which is not surprising since the former is the book’s inspiration. Plus, there is no denying that this lil’ fella, Bod, can kick some serious ass (he lives with ghost people, what more do you want?!)
What I like the most about The Graveyard Book is the grim yet exciting setting Neil Gaiman has subtly painted in my mind. If you are an avid reader like myself, you know how rare it is to read pitch-perfect descriptions in novels. Moreover, writing a children literature that can also appeal to adults speaks greatly about Mr Gaiman’s writing skill. His words are simple yet captivating. His choices for Bod’s adventures also make me believe that the author has high imagination himself.
The Graveyard Book may not be the current trending theme *cough* dystopian *cough*, but it can serves as a gentle reminder on how a simple children literature can bring pleasure to the readers by letting your inner child out once in a while.
PS: Someone call Tim Burton to direct the movie adaptation, please!