The Graveyard Book -- Neil Gaiman

Graveyard book After a knife-wielding assassin murdered his family, the ghostly inhabitants of a nearby graveyard took in Nobody Owens.  Though he's the only living person in the graveyard -- his guardian, also a resident of the graveyard, is not technically alive -- Bod is surrounded by people who care for him. 

The graveyard, though small, is full of people and places and potential adventures and danger, but eventually, Bod will want to explore the world outside.  However, once outside the graveyard, Bod will be vulnerable to the assassin who is still searching for him...

Okay.  I understand why everyone, his mom and her dog all loved this book.  I really do.

And I liked it well enough.  But I didn't fall in love with it.

The prose was lovely and there was something that felt comfortably (and comfortingly) old-fashioned about it and I loved the illustrations, especially how some of them wrapped around the pages and I really, really loved Liza Hempstock. 

More than anything else I loved the idea of it.  I loved the idea of a boy raised and educated by ghosts and I loved the idea of Freedom of the Graveyard and I loved the idea of the graveyard as a safe place.  And I loved the contrast of Silas' epic adventures to Bod's more normal (or as normal as they could be) coming-of-age adventures*.

But while the ideas worked and the book captured my imagination, my heart was never engaged.  I don't know why that is.  I did get a little misty at the end, but I chalked that up to the growing up aspect of the story -- that always, always gets me -- rather than to affection for the characters. 


*Which reminded me of the The Zeppo.