Review: Coraline

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Series: N/A
Pages: 162
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Horror, Childrens
My Rating: 4/5
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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“Coraline’s often wondered what’s behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her “other” parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.”

* * *

Why did I not know about this book sooner? I’m one of those people that reads a book long before it ever becomes a movie; however, in this case it didn’t work out that way.

In 2009 when the film Coraline came out, you bet I was there to watch it. A Tim Burton-esque atmosphere is what I wanted, and that’s what I got. When I found out there was actually a book, I was ecstatic (yes, it took me a while to realize that)!

I started reading Coraline and in a short period of time, I was finished. All I can say is, “Wow!” What a great little read!  This is one of those books that you can enjoy regardless of your age, and there’s something special about that.

Basically, little Coraline and her family move to a big house that has been converted into different sections so many families can live in it at once. She feels lonely and ignored because her parents are always too busy for her, but have no fear! Coraline is an adventurer! She goes to meet all the people in the house that, quite unkindly, refer to her as Caroline. There’s two women who used to be actresses, and a crazy old man who lives upstairs with performing mice.

The house’s yard is huge and you can tell that it used to be well kept. There’s a large garden, a tennis court, and even an old well. Coraline spends her days exploring the place, seeing if she can find anything interesting. She finds a cat, but he seems utterly uninterested in her.

One day, she thinks she sees something, so she goes into an unused room in her part of the house thinking the thing darted into the door, but not only is it locked, but when it’s opened, all it is is a brick wall. Eventually, weird things start to happen and Coraline finds herself in a seemingly other world, where the people have button eyes.

Again I repeat, “wow.”

The movie was excellent, yes, but this book beats it by a lot (isn’t that usually the case?). I found myself fully immersed into the world, and at certain points, I felt like I was right beside Coraline as her friend, helping her explore and figure things out.  I’m all for going into alternate worlds; the mere thought is completely captivating, though I don’t know how I’d feel about people with button eyes!

My favourite character in this story was the cat. He has no name, he is just the cat, and he is wonderful. Aside from the cat being amazing, Coraline surprises everyone by being brave even when she’s afraid and convinced that home is no longer her own.

I think this would be a wonderful read no matter what age you are; however, I believe that kids in the 6-10 age range would probably enjoy it the most. I know I certainly would have!

Coraline just goes to show that when you care about something enough, the courage to persevere will come out, no matter how small.

Enjoy, and happy reading!

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