We’re honoured to introduce Marta Becerril’s talent and witty writing to talk about books for our Fridays are for readers. Marta is a great friend, compulsive reader, and one of the authors of the fabulous Dr ReadGood, a blog (which I enjoy very much) dedicated to English literature for Catalan readers. We’re more than happy enjoying her trustful opinion and her unique style in our “Fridays”. Happy reading!
When Emma invited me to collaborate with Fridays are for Readers, I went back to previous articles in search for inspiration about the kind of book I was going to review. Marta and Emma’s good taste was crystal-clear, but -and don’t be mad at me Emma!- I found something missing. – Where the heck is genre literature!- I thought to myself and embarked immediately on the mission of righting this wrong. I went over all my books -terror, science fiction, noir- and then I saw the light, I’d write about a children’s book! Let’s be honest, how many children’s books have you read lately? Harry Potter aside, not many, right? I hereby invite you to dive head first into The Graveyard Book, winner of the Newbery Medal, the Hugo Award and the Carnegie Medal, a children’s book that stands strong against genre prejudice and will inadvertently find the way to your heart.
The Graveyard Book tells the story of Nobody Owens, a boy whose family was murdered when he still was a toddler. The orphaned child was then adopted by the ghosts in a nearby graveyard and was named Nobody because according to the ghosts of Mr and Mrs Owens “he looks like nobody but himself”. Nobody (aka Bod) will live plenty of adventures with his quirky new friends, the mysterious Silas, the strict Miss Lupescu or the lonely Liz the Witch and will learn lots of valuable lessons along the way. Neil Gaiman manages to write a wonderful pre-teen bildungsroman in under 300 pages, take that Mr Dickens!
Chilling, funny, macabre and suspenseful, The Graveyard Book is a rare gem, the type of book able to unearth a kind of wonder that belongs in the world of children and that adults can only steal back briefly, thanks to the imagination of unique beings like Neil Gaiman, one of the few chosen ones who hold the key to both worlds. Gaiman accomplishes what Terry Gilliam has been trying to do in all his works: capture the crazy and cruel world of children’s fantasy. Make yourself a favour and read The Graveyard Book, enjoy its trickery, let it thrill you and sweep you to a universe of awe and enjoyment and, just for a sec, indulge in the sweet tinge of melancholy that can only be found in great children’s book.
Oh! And when you grow up to be an upstanding man or woman, read it to your children and pass on the magic!