A graveyard is a way for the living to remember the dead, right? In The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman flips the script and says that maybe the dead need (and want) to be remembered as much as the living need to remember them. On top of this, the novel raises some troubling issues about memory. For example, Silas can play around with the minds of living people and make them forget whole chunks of their lives, as he does with Bod’s childhood friend Scarlett.
Another form of the past explored here is through history. The dead characters Bod spends his childhood with give us a solid look into British history. The people of the graveyard lived during different times, from when the Romans conquered the Celts, to witch trials in the 1500s, and on. We get to learn bits about history and science from these time periods through the ghosts. And through the mysterious Sleer, we’re given a glimpse of Britain’s prehistoric past, thousands of years ago.
The Graveyard Book is a good way to get young readers interested in history.
Graveyards are a good place to go to learn about local history.