The Graveyard Book Discussion, Part 1

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

This opening line from The Graveyard Book hooked me right away. I had a feeling after participating in Carl’s group read of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere that I would love his young adult novel as well. Nobody Owens is not like other children. His family has been murdered by a man named Jack. So far (we have only read 3 chapters) not much is known about Jack, except that he’s a killer and he is still searching for Nobody. On the night his family is killed, Nobody wanders from his home and ends up in a graveyard. It becomes clear to the residents of the graveyard that the toddler is in danger. Grave danger. Two ghosts, Mr and Mrs Owens decide to take in Nobody. Silas, another resident of the graveyard who is neither dead nor alive becomes his guardian.

The first 3 chapters of this book are delightful, in a creepy way. Yes it’s scary, but sometimes it’s fun to immerse yourself into a dark tale that makes your skin crawl and gets your heart pumping. Carl has asked if we enjoyed being frightened when we were kids. For me, the answer is yes and no. I’ve always been a jumpy person. If a friend would jump out from behind a bush, I would be terrified and angry with my friend for playing a mean trick. Yet, I enjoyed reading thrillers. I didn’t read a lot of horror, but I enjoyed a good story that had me on the edge of my seat. I still do as an adult. That’s the best part of Gaiman’s book. It’s scary, but not over the top scary. I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next, but I’m not disgusted by it. I never could get into slasher movies that involved buckets of blood and no story. For me, great books are great stories. This is only my second book by Gaiman, but so far, I think he’s a marvelous storyteller. Saying that, it’s time for me to get back to his book and to find out more about Nobody and his friends.

This group read is part of Carl’s R. I. P. For other discussions on this book, please visit this page.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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28 Responses to The Graveyard Book Discussion, Part 1

  1. T.F.Walsh says:

    I’m currently reading this book too, and it’s really good. The opening chapters are great, but it gets better:) Can’t wait to see what you think of it all.

    • TBM says:

      I was hooked right away with this one and I can only imagine that it gets better and better. Poor Bod–I have a feeling there’s more in store for him, good and bad.

  2. I recently read this book too, and I really enjoyed it. I think I will have to try out some more of his work :).

  3. Silvia says:

    Sounds great! I will be looking for this book, thanks for recommending! 🙂

  4. Caroline says:

    The first lines are so great. I was immediately hooked as well. I don’t find it scary, rather eerie and a bit spooky but in a very pleasant not a chilling way.

    • TBM says:

      His book is a fun type of scary for me. I’m not dreading what will happen next and it isn’t all that terrifying, but I enjoy his spooky factor. I think you selected the best word for it: spooky. It’s a great twist on a ghost story.

  5. Yes, you definitely need to read Neverwhere. That’s my favorite! Love that book. And it’s creepy but not too over the top. Love your comments.

    • TBM says:

      Oh I enjoyed Neverwhere immensely. I read it soon after moving to London and I felt a little like Richard, discovering the city. But my adventures haven’t been as creepy.

  6. Fergiemoto says:

    Yes, that first line would be gripping! Thanks for the recommendation.

  7. I’m the same. Love a good thriller, but not blood and gore. Have you watched Hitchcock’s Rear Window? No matter how many times I see that movie, my heart is pounding all the way through.

    Great first line.

    • TBM says:

      That is one of my favorite Hitchcock films and I have the movie poster in my office. Heart pounding for sure. That makes a movie or book fun. Not just blood and guts.

  8. Brie says:

    I agree, great first line. I’m also one who dislikes gore, but loves a great heart-pumping story. I’m excited to get back to the book and read more. I’m glad I took the opportunity to read it with a group because all of the thoughts and perspectives makes the read an even richer experience.

    • TBM says:

      It’s always fun to read other people’s reactions to a book you are currently reading. I’ve done a few group reads now and I love the format. Happy reading!

  9. nrlymrtl says:

    This is a reread for me and I am glad to hear that you are enjoying this book so much. I really enjoyed it the first time around. Gaiman’s novels are always on the dark side, but there is such a great story with beauty and truth mixed in with the darker side of humanity.

    • TBM says:

      His writing and stories have won me over. I need to find the rest of his books. I like visiting the dark side, especially when it’s this much fun.

  10. The Hook says:

    That is a compelling first line… And that’s coming form THE Hook!

  11. Novroz says:

    a ghost couple adopted a child? wow…I am very intrigued!!
    I wonder if I can find it here.

    I am with you on that slasher movies with no story, I like gore movies but it still has to have story…that’s why I rarely watch slasher movies.

    • TBM says:

      I can’t get into any book or movie that doesn’t have a good story. I just don’t see the point. I hope you can find this book. I’m enjoying it!

  12. lynnsbooks says:

    That opening line is really rather brilliant when you think about it. I think when I read that opening sentence first, and bearing in mind I knew this was a book aimed at a younger market, I probably didn’t give it it’s due respect. Now, sitting back and reading everyone’s comments and thinking about the brilliance that is Gaiman (I love to gush about him!) I so much more appreciate that first sentence. Plus, if you just read that bit in isolation, and imagine hiding in the dark and seeing a hand, with a knife – you’d be pretty damn scared wouldn’t you!
    Lynn 😀

  13. Great point that this book is scary but not disgusting. I think that’s why I can enjoy it!

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