If you know me, you know that my tastes lean a bit toward the well. . .macabre. It isn't because I have an image to maintain or because I'm depressed. It's just part of me. I joke that I have the heart of a HS goth girl. Admittedly, I did have leanings in that direction during my high school years, but I was never hard core: no red-blooded Goth would have ever welcomed me into her coven. I did: wear a lot of black clothing, listen to alternative music, and hang out in the lower, darker levels of dance clubs for under-aged kids. I occassionally though seldom: wore black cosmetics, powdered my face white, wore a black cloak (though I blush to admit it.) I never: owned a Marilyn Manson CD, dyed my hair black, dated a guy who more black lipstick than I did, purposely cut myself, or considered getting a vampire-bite tattoo.
I am joyous to say I grew out of that stage a long time ago. I re-introduced color to my wardrobe when I left home for college. I have since traded my Doc Martens for high-heeled boots. My religion defines my character now much more than my music. However, there is a part of me that can't totally give up on the macabre, try as I might.
So what of my former HS bad Goth self remains? I will always love Tim Burton movies. I will never stop listening to Oingo Boingo or The Beautiful South (though, thankfully, my tastes have matured and diversified.) I will always love Edward Gorey books. I think the Goth girl in me will always be attracted to Edward Cullen and Criss Angel (No, my husband is nothing like them. Yes, I find him attractive, too). I really enjoy hanging out in old graveyards, the older the better.
This would be my segue for discussion of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book which I recently reviewed on Goodreads and which has high macabre appeal. For those of you who are not (yet) my friend on Goodreads, here is my review:
I am so sad that I only recently discovered Neil Gaiman. There is no doubt that between the release of the movie, "Coraline," and the recent bestowal of the Newberry on the novel The Graveyard Book, Gaiman is at the peak of his popularity. It is only because of his recent acclaim that I have heard of Gaiman at all. He is the sort of author I would love to be able to say, "Oh, I've been a huge fan for years. I started reading his books before anyone else had even heard of him." Unfortuately, I have no right to that claim, but I am glad I found his books even if I had to wait this long.
The Graveyard Book is essentially and unabashedly a retelling of Kipling's A Jungle Book. Bod, an ambitious infant, happens into a historical graveyard on the night he is orphaned. Fortunately, he is taken in by the some of the graveyard's disembodied though kindly inhabitants. There, he is protected, raised, and educated. Ghosts, witches, and other "fearful" creatures are Bod's family and comrades. Needless to say, Bod grows up with an entirely different perception of dark and fear than most people.
The Graveyard Book is a coming of age story that is organized into seperate though intertwining vingettes; each self contained, but building toward the climax.
Gaiman has an infallible ear for language and dialogue. He also pays homage to his literary predecessors. Besides references to Kipling, there are elements of The Odyssey and The Hobbit. Even though this book is clearly in the fantasy genre, anyone with an appreciation for interesting characters, a good story, and good storytelling will enjoy The Graveyard Book.
If, like me, you have only recently heard of Gaiman, I highly recommend the following websites:
Where I made this flower:
And this picture of myself:
Might I also recommend Gaiman's official website:
If you are too much of a cheapskate to buy The Graveyard Book while it is still hardcover, you can listen to the ENTIRE novel read by Gaiman himself from the website listed above. How's that for generous? My inner high school Goth girl is purring contentedly.