© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book


by Neil Gaiman

Nobody "Bod" Owens Timeline and Summary

  • Eighteen-month-old Bod’s mother, father, and sister are murdered by a man named Jack.
  • Awakened by the noise, Bod jumps out of his crib, leaves his home, and walks up the hill to the graveyard. (Thus, quietly escaping the killer.)
  • Bod is given Freedom of the Graveyard, and gets adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Owens. Silas agrees to become his guardian and arrange for his food, clothing, and education.
  • Four-year-old Bod learns to read and write. He also makes a new friend, Scarlett Amber Perkins.
  • Bod and Scarlett go to the Sleer’s barrow, meet the Indigo Man, and then run from the Sleer.
  • Bod and Scarlett say goodbye.
  • When Bod is about six years old, he gets a new teacher, Miss Lupescu, who is also a werewolf.
  • One day, when Bod is still six, he meets a gang of ghouls and goes down to Hell with them, where they live.
  • When Miss Lupescu saves him from becoming ghoul-meat, Bod learns to love and appreciate her.
  • When Bod is about eight years old, he meets Liza Hempstock, a witch who’s buried on the borders of the graveyard.
  • When he finds out that she’s sad because her gravesite isn’t neat and tidy, and she doesn’t have a headstone, he decides to get her one.
  • He steals the Sleer’s brooch and tries to trade it in, and ends up locked in a room by the greedy pawnbroker who wants Bod to lead him to more treasure.
  • With a little help from Liza, Bod escapes, goes back home, returns the Sleer’s brooch to the Sleer, and gives Liza the headstone she wants – what a day.
  • One winter, Bod goes to the Danse Macabre, a dance between the living and the dead that does not happen often.
  • When Bod is about ten years old, he learns that his family was murdered.
  • That same year, Bod goes to a regular school during the day. At school, he stops a gang of bullies, runs away from home, and gets arrested. He’s rescued by Silas and decides that maybe school isn’t the best place for him right now.
  • When Bod is fourteen years old, he’s reunited with his old friend Scarlett Amber Perkins.
  • Things are going great between them until Scarlett accidentally leads Bod face-to-face with the man who killed his family, Jack Frost.
  • Bod battles Jack Frost and three other Jacks in the graveyard and wins.
  • Unfortunately, Scarlett, whose life Bod saves by foiling Jack Frost, doesn’t approve of his ways. She calls him a monster and that’s the last Bod sees of her (for now?).
  • When Bod is fifteen years old, his graveyard family believes him ready to go out into the world of the living.
  • With money, a passport, and big dreams, Bod leaves the graveyard.