“Why? Because it’s Ellen Ripley Time.”
Speaking of young children coping with things! (As I was, in my last post.) Does anyone else think Newt from Aliens is just a little too mentally stable for having gone through the pants-wetting terror of watching fetal extraterrestrials violently emerge from the stomachs of everyone she knew and loved? She snaps out of her thousand-yard-stare and immediately turns into the “cute, tough, and sarcastic” plot device that attempts to cover up a distinct lack of character development or reasonably written dialog.
I know, I know. The movie is a video game. I’m not hating, I’m just saying.
I finished The Graveyard Book earlier this evening (so be warned this review contains HEAVY SPOILERS because I am an asshole and I really don’t care. It’s been out for a year; if you’re really worried, read the stupid book already, it’s three hundred large-print pages long). All literary douchebaggery aside, I think it is a very enjoyable, moderately wholesome YA novel that doesn’t condescend to its audience. The bad guys lose in the end, but Bod doesn’t kill them. He doesn’t get the girl in the end, because sometimes that’s not the way these things work. The good guys are all dangerous but On The Right Side.
There is an over-arching moral binary in the good v. evil of Bod and Silas et al against the Jacks, but the actual day-to-day morality of Bod and Silas and the ghosts is a little more complex than that. We are never told what, exactly, the Jacks do and why they want to keep their organization from obsolescence, but it’s clear that they work for a bunch of power-hungry bureaucrats — and are fairly power-hungry themselves. They are ruthless killers who will murder babies in their cribs to further their own ends, and enjoy themselves while they do it. However! Bod uses the human girl as bait for the most ruthless of the Jacks — the one she trusted, which I’m sure was a weird and awful experience for her — and traps two of the Jacks in the ghoul world where they’re pretty much going to be eaten by ghouls in about twelve hours, maximum. Silas and the other Good Guys kill every single one of the other Jacks in Melbourne, Krakow, and… Toronto? I think it was somewhere in Canada. Vancouver, maybe. Granted, all of these things happen offscreen, but there the body count racked up by these so-called Good Guys is pretty impressive.
Bod experiences a reversal of Gaiman’s Normal Man Gets Plunged Into Strange World, Must Cope every time he tries to enter the world of living people, and each time, ends up fucking things up for himself and Silas. However, this is only the case because the man Jack is after him. Eventually he’s going to have to return to the living world because he’s alive and changing. Although this only becomes obvious at the end, there’s an overtone of it the whole time. And speaking of inevitability, Gaiman pushes the idea that prophecy will always come true if you try to make it not come true, which I love.
At the end he reclaims his name as ‘Nobody Owens’, which has to mean something but I can’t quite come up with it, having majored in History and (marginally more) practical pursuits rather than English Literature and metaphors.
Sorry, I’m being a douchebag about this, and I said I wouldn’t.
I really did like the book. I would much rather any eleven-year-olds of my acquaintance read this than Twilight or Eragon or whatever it is that kids these days are reading. (I am approximately 60% joking with the kids-these-days comment, now that my brother is solidly in his teenage years.)
In other news, I am happy to report that my dream that centipedes had taken up residence in our cantaloupe did not come true, because it is delicious and entirely insect-free.