Dancing with the dead
[The following meeting notes were compiled and submitted by esteemed Beamer Jon N., who generously filled in when I was absent from the October gathering – Eugene]
Despite the tropical winds of Karen blowing warmth to our area, the Beamers embraced autumn with The Graveyard Book, a self-confessed reimagining of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book by Neil Gaiman.
It was observed by Robin that the book also had strong similarity to the story of Harry Potter, and we briefly discussed how there are only so many story lines (the numbers 49 and 81 were bandied about, if I recall correctly) and that the difference is in how the story is told.
On this front, Mr. Gaiman’s offering fared well in the opinion of the Beamers. He received kudos from Jon for explaining just enough to follow but not so much as to clutter, though others felt the references may have been excessively obscure (Danse Macabre, The Lady on the Grey, and Silas’s nature to give some examples). Sadly, none of the Beamers knew the identity of the 33rd President of the United States without reference to Google.
In an unusual stance for the Beamers, there was little disagreement concerning the book, which recieved high marks for readability and fun story telling. Donna expressed some reservations upon reading the capture by the ghouls, but stuck it out and found the rest of the book to her liking. The harshest criticism levied, if it is indeed criticism, was that the individual chapters read as individual tales, linked by the common thread of Bod Owens and the graveyard.
Some Beamers expressed disappointment that the volume as a whole did not build up to a traditional climax and epilogue. However, this was not found to impinge on the readability, so much as an item that some felt could have transformed the book from ‘very good’ to ‘excellent’.
Eugene’s email missive largely reflected the feelings of the rest of us, only wishing for more illustrations. The final scores were generally 8, with a 7 or two from ‘the disgruntled’ among us.