The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is a Bildungsroman novel. Set in a graveyard, the protagonist Bod Owens is raised and educated by dead Mrs. And Mr. Owens. The story is inspired by The Jungle Book of Rudyard Kipling; however, the setting of the novel is different. Mr. Gaiman mentioned at the interviews that how he had read Kipling multiple times and how he's been inspired by The Jungle Book in specific to pen down this masterpiece.
The book is a children’s fantasy novel, done through eight chapters – short stories – and the protagonist grows in each story.
The concept is built around: a human child being raised by supernatural occupants, also a special aspect of this book. Jack (the bad man) kills the family of the toddler (who was upstairs when the murders were taking place). Later on, he climbs up a hill and there he is taken by the supernatural occupants (spirits, ghosts, ghouls, etc.). Even dead believes in charity work, for this reason they not only take him in but also raise this orphaned toddler. They name him Bod ‘Nobody’ Owens. As you read ahead you will find that the book is all about how he learns to live and love. It isn’t an ordinary life for him and how he would come out to merge in the outer world where alive lives.
Through a series of adventures and misadventures Bod Owens - adopted by the dead - learns what life is all about. And surprisingly, his lessons are learnt from the dead.
Mr. Gaiman fills his graveyard with characters that have more life than the world of the living. Presumably, it comes from the fact that they've lived and died, and know what they've gained or lost - which is a matter of perspective.
As for Bod, the character is so beautifully sketched that you can feel his emotions - ranging from his discovery of living among the dead to his desire to live in the real world, from his sense of love and loss to his perception of deep loss combined with an intrinsic knowledge of having to step out into the real world 'in good time.
As a reader, you're pulled into the book from the first line that maneuvers you and then it's a roller coaster ride of a slew of emotions. You commiserate, you hoot, you're flabbergasted, and by the end of the book you're left with tears in your eyes and a knob in your throat.
Definitely it's a must read for kids, as well as adults! The loveliness of Gaiman's books lies in his stories and his style of writing. You would love the way he uses words and plays with the sentences. And never forgets sarcasm which is found primarily in most of his works.