Monday, February 02, 2009

"It will be a place but it will no longer be home..."

I'm on vacation this week and drove The Kid* down to his Gramma's house for the week. We live in Iowa, and she lives in Texas. It's a long drive and we listened to Neil Gaimain's The Graveyard Book. I was planning, as part of my vacation to go visit the town I thought of as my home town for a lot of years... many many many years. Part of me still feels like "I grew up there..." I got directions to it from google maps and everything.

On the drive, while listening to The Graveyard Book (I got it from audible. /hat-tip) a line reached through the speakers and grabbed me by the face and yelled at me.

When the protagonist asked a parental figure if he could return home again he answered his own question:
"If I come back, it will be a place, but it won't be home any longer."
Well there's my vacation plans balled up and tossed out the window. He's exactly right. What I'd have gained by going back would have been some photographs and a feeling of "Wow... this is nothing like I remember it." So. I'm not going. If I start living in my past now, trying to recapture the feelings I felt when I was younger... that's a slippery slope to dottage and I'm not ready to head down that road yet. I'm not ready to start trying to recycle old into new or recapture it. There's plenty of life left to be lived, and I think I'll do that this vacation instead of trying to go back to what was.

Oh, and the book? There's a reason it won a Newberry. The reason is it's a really good book. I enjoyed it and I'm 40. The Kid just turned 18 and he enjoyed it. I imagine younger kids would like it as well. The premise is that a kid's whole family was murdered and he escaped to a graveyard and was adopted and raised by ghosts. That's the short version of the fly-leaf synopsis. Neil Gaiman takes that premise and tells a wonderfully imaginitive story using that as the launching point. I'm trying for a spoiler free review so I'll stop here. I recommend it highly to anybody from 8 to 80.

*I refer to The Kid that way to preserve his anonymity. No names and no pictures of him here... or anywhere without asking him first. He's 18 now, and not a kid... just ask him lol. But will still get that pseudonym while I write about him. He knows it and goes along with it even though he'd have picked something a little more Goth. (I say emo just to irritate him.)
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