It is my fate to be caught up, belatedly but inevitably, by my husband’s obsessions – typically anywhere from seven to ten years after he succumbs. This happened with J.K Rowling, Lost, Terry Pratchett…eventually it’s a life of football, martinis and The Walking Dead for me – but not yet! In the meantime, I have again been ensnared by one of my husband’s loves: Neil Gaiman.
Gaiman, like Terry Pratchett (who I posted on previously, and with whom Gaiman co-authored Good Omens), writes for children of all ages. My husband is mad for American Gods, my ten-year-old prefers Coraline and my seven-year-old adores Odd and the Frost Giants. Odd is a funny, sweet and strange story that asks some hard questions like, “Why do we want what we want?” Odd, the young boy who takes a journey with three talking animals, who are Norse deities, is a quirky and likeable lad, a bit “off,” but touchingly brave and wise.
This is a pleasant and thought-provoking book worth reading to a child. It could also be a light read for an adult group that enjoys children’s fiction and fantasy. My Gaimanite friend Daniel, who gave me the book, says that all fairy tales have a creepy or unsettling element in them, an “unease.” Gaiman, he says, manages to convey that mood in a way that isn’t frightening or graphic, but eerie nonetheless. He manages to get “under your skin without being overly creepy.”
After I talked to Daniel on the phone, he offered to send me another book to read. May we all have friends with big bookcases and bigger hearts.