Coraline by Neil Gaiman

October 24, 2013 Children's Fiction, Frightening 38

Salutations Bookworms,

Coraline I love October. The air is getting crisp and apples are in season. It makes me want to snuggle up and read even more than usual! In continuation of my dark and spooky October reading fest, I decided to pick up Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

Coraline is a little girl who is bored out of her mind during a school vacation. Her parents both work from home, but they are both too busy to amuse her one afternoon. She sulks around for a bit and eventually runs across the key to a mysterious door in their flat. Instead of containing the brick wall that normally lives behind the door, our little heroine discovers a dark passageway. Her curiosity simply won’t allow her NOT to find out what’s going on…

She discovers her “Other Mother”… “Other Mother” makes roast chicken and allows Coraline to play with all sorts of toys. She offers Coraline the opportunity to stay forever- if only she’ll sew black buttons in place of her eyes. Coraline is understandably creeped out, so she decides to go home. Only, once she’s home? Her parents have disappeared. Because “Other Mother” is evil and stuff.

It’s Neil Gaiman, y’all. The button eyeballs and evil surrogate parents are to be expected. To quote the perennially brilliant Joni Mitchell, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Our little heroine has to use her wits to save her parents, and some other lost souls along the way.

I thought this book was a lot of fun, but I wasn’t quite as blown away as I’d expected to be. It was a cute, fun, and appropriately creepy for the season. Just don’t go in expecting your socks to be blown to Neptune. My socks stayed somewhere between Mars and Jupiter.

What about you, bookworms? Anybody else read Coraline? See the movie? Tell me about it!

38 Responses to “Coraline by Neil Gaiman”

    • Words for Worms

      Seriously! She’s like “I’ll make you chicken for dinner if you’ll poke out your eyes and sew buttons in their place” as though that’s a reasonable request!

  1. Megan M.

    I enjoyed Coraline but I remember feeling the same – I wasn’t as impressed with it as I expected to be. Stardust and The Graveyard Book are my favorite Gaimans so far.

      • Ashley F

        I think sometimes author’s get very limited when they make the narrator an child. Totally different subject but that was the issue with Room as well. Could have been a factor.

        • Passionate Reader #465

          While that may be the issue with some books, it definitely isn’t the case with this, I feel like it was something else. The narration coming from the kid helps, the same way it does in the Graveyard Book, which was also short, and I feel as using a child would expand the character, as adults thinking is generally more limited, as they only ever see shadows as shadows, not as a creature from under the bed

  2. Nish

    I haven’t seen the movie or read the book, but I enjoy Gaiman in general and so I think I”ll like this one also.

  3. Wayne

    This sounds pretty psychological to me. The evil “other mother” revealing herself as a witch. Bruno Bettelheim would have would have had a field day with this book.

  4. Book Blahg

    I saw the movie a few years ago. That “other mother” had me soooo paranoid. I can only imagine if it was real life actors instead of it being animated….

  5. Leah

    I’ve never read Coraline (or anything by Gaiman, for that matter. Yes, I know I need to fix this!), but it sounds super creepy! A shame it didn’t blow your sox off, but it seems like a fun, spooky fall read!

  6. Andi (@estellasrevenge)

    The sock blowing happens in The Graveyard Book. LOL I liked this one but it’s cute, short, fun, and for a young set, so not the depth we might want from Sir Gaiman. Have you seen the movie yet?

  7. Sarah Says Read

    Soooo creepy! But definitely juvenile enough that it’s not amazing. I enjoyed it though. The movie… not so much. The graphics or whatever were pretty great, but some stuff was changed and it just wasn’t impressive.

  8. justJen

    I was a bit disappointed in the book too, as I saw the movie first and it was AMAZING. I think this is the only book I know of so far wherein the film version gives my brain more detail than the printed version!

    • Words For Worms

      Don’t feel bad for never having read Gaiman. There are soooooo many books in the world, how can we be expected to reach them all? And yes, you get points for having seen the movie.

  9. Melinda

    I’ve seen the movie, but can’t remember much. I want to read the book thought, I’m finding that I enjoy reading children’s fiction now and then .

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