Suicide Discussions In Kids Books?

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I have no opinion on whether or not this is a good thing. Just an observation of the info I read in Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book.”

If you’ve not read Gaiman, and if you kinda like offbeat, freaky stuff, (that’s really good literature, too), give him a try. He’s written several items which have been turned into movies. Strangely enough, some of his stuff for kids also has a “darker” edge. Really, who needs the three little pigs when you have the story of Bod, the kid who’s parents were murdered and who grows up in a graveyard, raised by ghosts?

One of Bod’s friends is a gent named Silas. Bod questions Silas about the graves outside the fence of the graveyard, and Silas tells him that it’s unconcecrated ground. Being all of six, Bod asks what this means. In gentle terms, Silas tells how religious people bless certain parts of earth, and not others. The ground that hasn’t been blessed is where they bury people who are “unsuitable”; suicides, witches, thieves, anyone the general public thinks is unworthy to lay in ground which is holy.

Bod doesn’t quite understand the idea of “suicide”, so Silas explains:

“…and there are always people who find their lives have become so unsupportable, they believe the best thing they could do would be to hasten their transition to another plane of existence.”

“Are they happier dead?” Bod asked

“Sometimes. Mostly no. It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go live somewhere else. But it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you, if you see what I mean.”

Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. Profound, don’t you think?

It reminds me of a line from one of my favorite Counting Crows songs: “Try to keep myself away from me.”

We cannot get away from ourselves. Not with relocation, not with medication, not with denial. Not with booze. Not with deflection. We must get comfortable living in our own skin. Accept your personal shortcomings, deal with your adversity and choose to be happy.

Take it from Silas…can you be happy if you do these things? “Sometimes. Mostly, no.”

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  • Susabelle

    I finished the Graveyard Book last month. Really a very good read. My husband was disappointed in the ending, I was not. The book does make you think, doesn’t it?

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