The Boy Who Lived

This is Harry Potter condensed. I hope Neil Gaiman won’t be offended, because he’s his own man, but The Graveyard Book really has a lot in common with that other boy’s life story.

Bod – short for Nobody – is a very special, but normal, boy. Rescued from being murdered as a toddler, he ends up living in a deserted graveyard. Who knew dead people could be so lovely? Bod has a good, if somewhat unusual, life growing up with the graveyard inhabitants.

There is a prize on his head, and he is continously in danger, but the skills taught him by the dead people help him. Unlike the other famous boy survivor, Bod’s adventures need only one book to reach a conclusion, and a very satisfying one, too.

There’s a lot of good advice for the living in this book, and Bod proves to be very talented at dealing with bullies, as well as those more dangerous people who are after him.

I’ve never thought much about what the Dance Macabre might really be, but Neil’s version is a good one. And if you don’t want to look up dead US presidents, then no. 33 is Truman. Had rather hoped it might be Reagan.

This is a very, very good read.

I’m off to visit a graveyard.

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5 responses to “The Boy Who Lived

  1. brianlindenmuth

    Of course that’s putting aside any similarities (especially physical) that good ol’ Harry shares with Timothy Hunter from Gaiman’s The Books of Magic comics in 90/91.

  2. I think the reason they’re similar is because The Graveyard Book is inspired by The Jungle Book, with which Harry Potter also has a lot in common – the parents lost at the beginning of chapter one, the baby saved by the mother-figure, the pack which won’t accept him, the wise old leader … and I always thought Bagheera and Sirius were too similar to be coincidental.

    You’ll have to read The Jungle Book next, witch, it’s a fantastic read.

  3. You mean the Disney film isn’t enough? But you’re right, Sally, Sirius has a lot in common even with Disney’s Bagheera.

  4. The Graveyard Book is no more “Harry Potter” condensed than Harry Potter is “Charmed Life” condensed or “Johnny and the Dead” condensed or, as has been pointed out, “The Jungle Book” condensed or “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” condensed or…. have I made my point? Ms Rowling has trod a well-worn path. Let us give her no more credit on that count than is due.

  5. Pingback: More Graveyard « Bookwitch

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