Coraline Book Review

by Neil Gaiman

I’d give this classic 4 black buttons out of 5.  

Now, let’s see… What’s a good way to describe this book? Several words come to mind.Now, let’s see… What’s a good way to describe this book? Several words come to mind. Creepy. This is probably one of the most common words used to describe this book. Clever. I think this word describes the protagonist quite well. Hand. Yes, the hand! See the first word.   The novel, Coraline, follows a young girl of the same name – Coraline Jones. Her family recently moved into a new apartment, surrounded by some very eclectic and interesting characters. It was all very visceral. 

When Coraline’s parents get absorbed in their work, and personal activities, they fail to pay attention to her, and she decides to go exploring. Along the way she meets talking animals, former theater actresses that want to tell Coraline’s fortune, and a loony guy on the top floor that swears mice talk to him and play him marching band music. It’s all very mysterious feeling. The book really starts to take off when Coraline discovers a small door sealed off by a brick wall in one of the parlors. One night she follows a mouse into the door and through a dark corridor, and out the other side in a bizarro world of sorts. There she meets her “other mother,” and “other father.” Those parents eventually reveal that they want her to stay with them, and their black buttons for eyes. As the story moves along, Coraline realizes that her “other mother” is some kind of god-like creature that created the other world she then found herself in, and continues to manipulate it to keep Coraline there. The story is about Coraline’s exploring nature, and how, even though her parents weren’t paying much attention to her, there was nothing she wanted more than to be with her family again. This is a really good novel, full of palpable adventure, and creepy characters and environments. And it’s not just the descriptions that create the creepy ambiance, but the dialogue too. The “other mother” is very tricky, and subtle in her lies and deceptions. Coraline rises to the occasion, however, and delivers a creative, satisfying ending, besting the “other mother” at her own game. If you or your kids don’t mind slightly horrific scenarios and characters, then you’ll likely receive this well. Note: This book was adapted into movie form, and it was well received. Note: This book was adapted into movie form (clay/stop animation I believe,) and it was well received. You might want to check that out too.  

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