7 Quotes From ‘The Graveyard Book’ That Are Heart-wrenching

14 years ago, ‘The Graveyard Book’ by Neil Gaiman was published in 2008. And today, we reflect on some heartbreaking quotes about the story of a boy who found family in the least expected place, a graveyard.

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As a reader, you often vividly remember the books that left behind an imprint on your mind after you’ve read them. And one of those books for me is The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

The Graveyard Book is a story about Nobody Owens. He’s a pretty normal boy, if you don’t factor in how he lives in a graveyard as well as being raised and educated by ghosts. He also has a guardian who doesn’t exactly belong to the world of the living or the dead. However, danger and adventure awaits Nobody, not only in the graveyard, but in the land of the living too. Because that’s where Jack, the man who had killed Nobody’s family, lives and is searching for him.

The graphic novel cover for The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

With an intriguing storyline like this, there will be some memorable quotes within. So here are some heart-wrenching quotes to celebrate the publication of The Graveyard Book.

His Journey Begins

‘He looks like nobody but himself,’ said Mrs.Owens, firmly. ‘He looks like nobody.’ ‘Then Nobody it is,’ said Silas. ‘Nobody Owens.’

It’s a heartwarming moment from Mrs. Owens who takes in the little child in order to protect him from suffering the same fate his family does. By naming him Nobody, it marks the beginning of his life and identity. It also establishes how his identity is unique, while allowing him to have his own identity as he grows up.

A Sense of Community and Found Family

‘It will take more than just a couple of good hearted souls to raise this child. It will,’ said Silas, ‘take a graveyard.’

This is probably my favorite quote because it’s a nice little spin on the iconic and famous quote about how it takes a village to raise a child. It also emphasizes how unusual the situation is where you would rarely associate community and family with ghosts and graveyards. It’s a wonderful moment overall because of how everyone in the graveyard is stepping in to help and protect Bod.


Don’t Catch Fear

Fear is contagious. You can catch it. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to say that they’re scared for the fear to become real.

These are wise words Gaiman wrote. You don’t realize or acknowledge a fear you may have unless you’re forced to face it or someone else mentions it.

Ignorance is Bliss

People want to forget the impossible. It makes their world safer.

If people forget the impossible, they won’t have anything to worry about. They won’t have any reason to fear something they’re unaware of or don’t think about. Therefore, they believe the world they live in is safe. It’s another reminder that ignorance is bliss.


The Hard Truth in Life

Face your life

Its pain,

Its pleasure,

Leave no path untaken.

It’s the sad and hard truth about life where you experience both pain and pleasure. These last lines of the lullaby Mrs. Owens sings for Bod as he is leaving show how much faith she has in him. She believes in whatever path he chooses to take because the ghosts at the graveyard raised him well. And no matter what pain and pleasure he may face, he will overcome them.

If You Love Someone, Let Them Go

You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.

It’s just harder out there in the world of the living, and we cannot protect you out there as easily. I wanted to keep you perfectly safe…But there is only one perfectly safe place for your kind, and you will not reach it until all your adventures are over and none of them matter any longer.

They’ve raised and taught him everything he needed to know to venture outside of the graveyard and continue his adventures with the living. It’s a bittersweet moment as well as a heart-wrenching ending. His family at the graveyard realizes that Bod is living, therefore he must leave them and the graveyard, so he can truly live to his fullest potential and experience things he is meant to.


With a heartbreaking, chilling plot combined with these haunting quotes, it’s not hard to see why The Graveyard Book is such a beloved book. 

To read more about The Graveyard Book, check out this Bookstr article.

For more of Bookstr’s favorite quotes from books and authors, check them out right here.