Sunday, July 20, 2008

Death: The High Cost of Living...random thoughts

Death: The High Cost of Living by Neil Gaiman.

I must start out by saying that I loved this book! I loved it, I loved it, I loved it!

I first heard of it when I read Nymeth's post about her favorite books. I thought it sounded wonderful, but despite the fact that she said that you didn't need to read the whole Sandman series first to enjoy and appreciate this book, I kept telling myself that I should. (Read all of The Sandman first, I mean.) That is, until I happened to see Death in the library...and then Nymeth's review started dancing around in my head and I simply couldn't resist.

I'd already met Death at the end of Preludes and Nocturnes, and was quite intrigued with her. And she only became all the more likable in this book. You really want to be her friend...she's not only incredibly sweet and down-to-earth, but owing to who she is and her circumstances, she comes off a bit crazy. And what are her circumstances? Well, once every hundred years, Death gets to take human form and come be amongst mortals as a mortal herself. And this is where we see her in this book.

The story is actually told by a teenage boy named Sexton, who happens to contemplating suicide. Not because his life is so horrible. But because it is so meaningless. Death (a.k.a. Didi, to the people she meets this day) saves Sexton when a refrigerator falls on him in the garbage dump. In so many ways, the day Sexton and Death spend together is incredibly ordinary. Getting just this one day per century as a person, Death truly appreciates the things we take for granted. Like what she has to say about eating an apple..."I said, don't apples taste great? I mean the way they taste. And the texture. And the way when you chew them they kind of crunch and the juice runs out in your mouth. Isn't it amazing?" And you know what, it is amazing...but how often do I stop and think about it that way? Sadly, not enough.

Anyway, back to their day. As I said, in many ways, their day was quite ordinary. But in others, well, definitely not. I mean how many of us have a woman claiming to be 250-years-old threaten to carve our face with a broken bottle if our friend (that would be Death, in this case) doesn't go find her heart for her?

And through this ordinary, yet so definitely not ordinary day, Sexton begins to rethink the gift that is life. Was this Death's intention all along? I'm not sure...I've been mulling this over in my mind since I finished the book yesterday, and I can't decide what I think. Maybe I don't want to make up my mind.

Anyway, in case you didn't catch it earlier...I really, really loved this book!


If you've also reviewed this book, feel free to leave a link in the comments and I'll add it here. Thanks.

Nymeth at Things Mean A Lot
Rhinoa at Rhinoa's Ramblings
Valentina at Valentina's Room


Read for:

Graphic Novels Challenge.



Melody said...

Glad you enjoyed this book, Debi! I haven't read The Sandman series yet... I'm hoping to read them one day soon!!!

Chris said...

So glad you enjoyed it Debi! Death has always been one of my favorite Sandman characters, yet I still haven't read this one believe it or not! Must remedy that...Guillermo del Toro is supposed to be doing a Death movie with Gaiman sometime in the future!!!

Nymeth said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this one so much, Debi! And I looove that bit about the apples you posted. And about whether or not it was her intention all along to get Sexton to realize how precious life is..I wonder too. But I love how she wants to make sure she never forgets it herself.

I'm also really excited about the movie Chris mentioned! With Guillermo del Toro and Neil himself involved, there's no way it wouldn't be great.

J. Kaye Oldner said...

I think I am the only one left in the world who hasn't read a Neil Gaiman. I lead such a sheltered life. :(

Carl V. said...

It is indeed a fantastic graphic novel. I always hope if they make a Death film that they stick close to this story line as I think it would make a great movie.

Kim L said...

I haven't read this one, but I really loved the character of Death in the first few Sandman comics. I think this sounds pretty cool :-)