Neil Gaiman writes dark, horrid fairytales that suit my dark, horrid interests and because of our similar tastes of dark and horrid elements, it’s no mystery how I came to adore Gaiman and his novels, thus, beginning my little mission to read nothing but his books this past months, resulting to dark and horrid feelings that I hope does not affect my dark-less and horrid-less life.
What I like about Neil Gaiman is the versatility of his stories, ranging from one adventure to another, the variations of themes while still adding his own eccentric flavor. His stories are simple (except American Gods apparently) yet exciting, more on adventure and plot than character that keeps the pages turning without the readers analyzing the character’s psychological health or other complicated twists. Though Gaiman’s novels are dark, they’re not at all complex.
Here are his books I’ve read so far:
Neverwhere was the book that got me hooked up with Neil Gaiman and I wish he wrote more of these. It’s my favorite work of his so far, simply because I had a lot of fun reading it. It reminded me a lot of The Wizard of Oz except that Neverwhere appeared much darker in my imagination unlike Dorothy’s high heels and golden-bricked road. Like the Wizard of Oz, Neverwhere introduces a world and adventure dark yet enticing, and a diverse set of characters that are never boring. The dialogues are fun and the plot is rather light and fast-paced, easy to finish, easy to enjoy. Though targeted for adults, Neverwhere is an easy, fun read for anyone and I think even a younger audience would like it.
I highly recommend Neverwhere as a first Gaiman read because it’s truly the kind of novel you’d beg for more. It is funny, extremely addicting, and brings you to a dark but quirky London Below. Also, try listening to BBC’s radio play of it. It’s as amazing as the book.
The Graveyard Book
The Graveyard Book gave me mixed feelings and questions not entirely philosophical like, “Is there something wrong with me or the book?” Have I lost my innocent awe? It was a weird guilty feeling because one thing about TGB is that I didn’t enjoyed it as I thought I would.
TGB consists of short stories of Bod’s adventures as he grows up. Each story gradually builds up a bigger story that sheds light on Bod’s past and connects all the characters together, thus, the climax of the seemingly loosed novel. A new lesson is learned in each story, making the novel what I can call Gaiman’s genuine children’s book ever and his only novel (that I’ve read so far) that exhibits clear moral lessons (some atleast), though it usually lingers to listen to what your elders tell you and those sort of thing, and the unusual coming-of-age of a boy who lived with dead people
Child protagonists usually allure me and they’re enough reason to love a book, no matter now whiny they could be. But Bod just didn’t click to my interest. He was too gray and nothing else but curious. Reading through his perspective was looking into a set of binoculars with not much of an awe of what’s inside it. Despite seeing Bod grow from a 6 year old to a teenager, there’s not much difference between his child self to his young man self. Bod remained, well, Bod. It was a fine novel but not quite memorable.
Odd & the Frost Giants
A short story about Odd and his mini adventure in returning the gods of Asgard to their homeland. A highly enjoying and quick read that amused me one afternoon. The illustration makes creative use of the space and perspectives. It was a witty and quiet read.
If I were to recommend a book to parents to read to their children, I won’t recommend Neil Gaiman because children won’t learn anything from him. If I were to read Neil Gaiman to a child, I’d read it to scare them.
Coraline might be a inspiring lesson of courage and wits but I don’t think my kids would understand that, because I did not, and I see no point of inspiring my kids to join the darkness. Even so, I loved Coraline. I loved Coraline and her brightness, her silent nature, her adventurous streak, her courage, and her cynical views in the most simplest things. It was an odd novel for a children’s book but nevertheless fun and dark and I’d read them to my future kids anyway. Maybe they’ll understand it far better than I.
American Gods was a weird book because I did not get it. I did not get the point of the book, the point of many, many characters, Shadow’s point, point point point.
I just did not get it.
So I’ll leave it for now until I get it.
I’ve only read a few of its stories. It’s a recommendable pick if you want a dash of morbidity for a while.