The Night Gardener (February book club)

“I think I figured it out.” She sniffed, looking up at the stars. “Hester asked me what the difference between a story and a lie was. At the time, I told her that a story helps folks. ‘Helps ’em do what?’ she asked. Well, I think I know the answer. A story helps folks face the world, even when it frightens ’em. And a lie does the opposite. It helps you hide.”
― Jonathan Auxier, The Night Gardener

The boys in our book club wanted to read a scary book so our book choice this month was the Victorian ghost story, The Night Gardener, by Jonathan Auxier. This story follows two abandoned Irish siblings, Kip and Molly, who find work as servants at an old, scary, and broken down manor house for the strange Windsor family.

We watched a short video of the author and learned more about him and the book. We ate lots of candy (in honor of Alistair) and bread, drank tea, and, the highlight, all played Ghosts in the Graveyard in the dark and scary church basement. (For those unfamiliar with this game, the object of the game is to find the ghost – a player who is hiding. The player who finds the ghost’s hiding spot, yells “Ghosts in the Graveyard” and everyone tries to get back to home base before the ghost tags someone).

This dark fantasy novel does more than scare its readers. As a group, we talked about the dangers of instant gratification and the power and limits of storytelling. All in all, another fantastic read by another great author.

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