This is the final post in The Graveyard Book Read-Along hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings. You can find parts 1 and 2 here and here. In this final post I’m talking about Chapter 7 and 8 so there are obviously spoilers.
The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
Every Man Jack: This chapter brought us the unexplained absence of Silas and the return of Bod’s childhood friend Scarlett. She and her mother move back to the small town and she makes friends with a man named Mr. Frost. Though I’d read the book before, I somehow forgot who Frost is revealed to be, so it caught me completely by surprise.
This is by far the scariest chapter in the book. The Jacks, who have been hunting Bod for years, are finally revealed in an ultimate fight between good and evil. We learn that Silas has been trying to eliminate Jacks all over the world with other members of the Honor Guard. The five remaining villains converge in the graveyard in an effort to void the prophesy that predicted Bod would be the end of their secret society.
By the end of the battle both sides have incurred losses. Bod looses both Miss Lupescu and in another way he loses his friend Scarlett again. He also looses his innocence in a way. He does what he has to in order to survive, but it changes him.
Leavings and Partings: The book’s conclusion hit all the right notes for me. It was sweet and hopeful. Bod is only 15, but his time in the graveyard has come to an end. He feels the change and though he doesn’t understand it he accepts it. We know this when he answers his own question about returning to the graveyard.
“If I come back, it will be a place, but it won’t be home any longer."
I loved that he had the perfect goodbye with each person. I thought Mr. Owens was particularly poignant when he tells Bod that he is the son he always longed for during his life. Bod knew it wouldn’t be easy to walk away, but he does and that’s incredibly brave.
“But between now and then, there was Life; and Bod walked into it with his eyes and his heart wide open.”
BOTTOM LINE: It’s a wonderful, creepy coming-of-age story. Gaiman creates an unforgettable world in the graveyard and these characters will stay with me forever.
I also want to mention the illustrations in the book (done by Dave McKean). The first time I read it was as an audiobook, wonderfully narrated by the author himself. I missed the illustrations and they add so much to the story! They capture the spooky elements in Gaiman’s novel beautifully and I’d encourage you to get your hands on a copy to check them out if you listened to the audiobook.
Image from The Graveyard Book.