This weekend, Kevin and I went on an exciting trip to New York City where we ate great food, spent time with old friends, saw a great Broadway Show, and for the car ride, we brought along the audio version of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. You know...that little book that came out in 2008 and got some attention by winning the Newbery Medal, the Hugo Award, the Carnegie Medal, and oh, at least a half dozen more major literary awards. I admit, I'd never read it.
Now, I'll also admit, I'm *glad* I'd never read it. Because listening to Neil Gaiman read the book aloud is so much fun, I'm certain I wouldn't have enjoyed it half as much if I had read it on my own. Most books, I like to curl up on the couch and create a world in my own head. But Neil Gaiman's voice is built for storytelling. He draws you in and invites you to hang on his every word.
Of course, the story is chilling. Our hero, Bod (short for Nobody), enters the novel as an infant whose family has just been brutally murdered. In an unprecedented act of generosity, the ghosts of the local graveyard take him in and vow to protect him. What unfolds is part mystery, part straight-up fantasy/adventure, but what is most intriguing is Bod's coming of age story. Bod is a living, flesh-and-blood human being trying to fit into a world that is not his. In the end, after all is said and done, The Graveyard Book is about familial love, growing up, letting go, and finding your place in the world.
Next time you're trying to decide what to listen to on a long car trip, I recommend checking it out.