Friday, April 24, 2009

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

It sounded like her mother. Coraline went into the kitchen, where the voice had come from. A woman stood in the kitchen with her back to Coraline. She looked a little like Coraline's mother. Only...

Only her skin was white as paper.

Only she was taller and thinner.

Only her fingers were too long, and they never stopped moving, and her dark red fingernails were curved and sharp.

"Coraline?" the woman asked. "Is that you?"

And then she turned around. Her eyes were big black buttons. (from Coraline, pages 27-28)

The Girl and I started Neil Gaiman's Coraline a few months ago, then life got in the way and it sat on the coffee table waiting to be finished. We decided to complete it during the recent Read-a-Thon, and I'm glad we did because I enjoyed it.

Coraline is a young girl adjusting to a new home. Her parents are always working and don't seem to have any time to entertain her. She visits her neighbors, former actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, and wonders about the old man living in the attic apartment who claims to have a mouse circus. Coraline basically wanders around feeling bored and neglected. While exploring, she finds a door in the drawing room, which opens onto a brick wall. Eventually, as all curious children would do, Coraline opens the door, finds a dark hallway, and walks through it to another home that mirrors her own.

Waiting in this identical home is Coraline's Other Mother and Other Father, seemingly perfect except for the black button eyes -- which they want to sew to Coraline's face so she can be their daughter and live with them forever. Coraline eventually makes her way back to her real home to discover that her real parents are missing. With the help of a talking cat, Coraline must play the Other Mother's evil games to find her parents and get her old life back. But the Other Mother has plans, and they don't involve playing fair.

Coraline is a dark and creepy book, and while The Girl and I wished it had been scarier, we enjoy creepy stories, too. Coraline made me think back to the days when I thought my parents were too busy for me. I know now that wasn't the case, but it felt that way sometimes as a kid. I thought Coraline was a strong character, as she rose to the challenges presented by the Other Mother despite the fact that she was frightened. The book had enough action to hold our attention until the end, but I wish there had been more about the origins of the Other Mother. Nevertheless, I thought it was a decent book with a unique plot. I definitely plan to read another book by Gaiman in the future.

Here's what The Girl (age 8) had to say:

I think this book is very good. My favorite part was when Coraline tossed the cat at the Other Mother. Another part I thought was good was when she ran out of the cellar. I thought this book was good because it was kind of scary.

Coraline also was reviewed by:

Wrighty's Reads
Bermudaonion's Weblog
The Infinite Shelf
The Curious Reader

If you've also reviewed it, let me know in the comments, and I'll add your link!

Disclosure:  We purchased our copy of Coraline.



Karen Harrington said...

I loved this book, too, and gave it to my nieces. :)

Serena said...

Great reviews girls!

bermudaonion said...

I enjoyed this book and the movie too!

Unknown said...

I wish I would have remembered to recommend this to my daughter for her fantasy book report! I'm sure she would have enjoyed it.

Tricia said...

My 8 year old likes creepy way more than I do! She would probably really get into this one. Thanks to both of you for the review!

Darlene said...

lol-I love that. The Girl liked it because it was kind of scary. It really was creepy to me~she's braver than I am. Glad you both liked it.

kalea_kane said...

I loved this book too! I have passed this along to my neices, my son, my husband, and my cousin. Thankfully they have all returned it. LOVE IT! I haven't seen the movie, but I would like to. Neil Gaiman is incredibly talented.

Sandy Nawrot said...

We've not read this one (we read The Graveyard Book) but we saw the movie, which was so excellent, especially in 3D! My kids call me the "other mother" when I am on their S list.

Kailana said...

Great review! This reminds me that the movie probably won't be too much longer before it is out on DVD! I never got a chance to see it in theatres.

Ladytink_534 said...

I read this after The Graveyard Book (loved!) and I really liked this one too. I haven't seen the movie yet though.

Melissa O. said...

I have a little something for you on my blog. You can pick it up here.

Laura said...

I really want to read this one, even though I don't do well with creepy or scary stories! I figure if it is geared towards kids, I can handle it! :)

Toni said...

Great review. I wan to read this and see the movie also. So SUPER special that you and The Girl will have this special memory together forever. A bond through a book is one of the most beautiful memories.

Bookfool said...

I liked this book, but my favorite Gaiman (so far) is definitely Stardust. I love the dual review!

Blodeuedd said...

I do love Gaiman and would loe to check it out :)

Alyce said...

I haven't read any of Gaiman's books because I'm not a fan of scary stories. I am planning to give this one a try though because it sounds like it's the most tame.

Nicole said...

I haven't read this one, but remembering seeing the trailer for the movie and thinking, "too creepy for my daughter and me." When when she's a little older (or I'm a little older:>)

Luanne said...

I enjoyed Stardust when it came out, but never saw the movie. I really enjoy reading The Girl`s take on books!

Marg said...

I read this during read-a-thon and really enjoyed it. I am slowly becoming more of a Gaiman fan with each new book I read by him.

Iliana said...

The joint review is great! :)

This was one of my favorite reads last year. I'm just so bummed out I didn't see the film while it was still playing a the movie theater. I'll have to rent it - have you guys watched it?

Wanda said...

Creepy isn't really my thing at all BUT if "The Girl" can handle it, then maybe I can be brave and read Coraline with my daughter.

We've been reading the Golden & Grey books, they're creepy funny. You girls may enjoy them as a together read too...

The Bookworm said...

glad you both liked this one, I enjoyed it too :)

S. Krishna said...

I want to read this one. Thanks for the review!

Staci said...

sorry...I can't spell!!! Let's try this again....

This book is scary, creepy, and just flat-out good!! A lot of my middle school students really have enjoyed this book!! Great reviews Anna and The Girl!

Anna said...

Scobberlotcher: I think it's a great gift book, too.

Serena: Thanks!

Bermudaonion: I thought the movie was pretty good, too. I remember your posts about it.

Janel: Darn! I hope she still gets a chance to read it, though.

Tricia: I'm glad The Girl and I share a love of creepy. Let me know if your daughter gets a chance to read it.

Dar: I thought it was funny that she wished it had been scarier!

Kalea_Kane: If you loved the book, I think you'll love the movie. It's different, but well done.

Sandy: That's funny! I'm glad my daughter hasn't thought to call me that, though I wouldn't put it past her. I'd like to read The Graveyard Book someday.

Kailana: I can't wait for the DVD. I saw a late showing and dozed for a few minutes and I want to know what I missed. LOL

Ladytink: I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the movie (hint, hint).

Melissa: Thanks very much!

Laura: It was creepy, but I think you could handle it. It don't think it was scary, not in the way that keeps you up at night.

Toni: Thanks! I love reading with her and I'm enjoying it while it lasts. She's reading more and more on her own, but still likes to read with me too.

Bookfool: Thanks! I'll have to check out Stardust. Wasn't a fan of the movie (couldn't get into it) but I've heard good things about the book and the movie.

Blodeuedd: Let me know if you read Gaiman. I'd love to hear what you think. I'm going to read more of his work for sure.

Alyce: I can't say anything about his other books because I haven't read any of them, but this one wasn't scary at all, just creepy.

Nicole: LOL I guess it depends on how old your daughter is. The Girl wanted both the book and the movie to be scarier.

Luanne: Thanks! That made The Girl's day.

Marg: I can't wait to read another Gaiman book. I can't say I'm a fan just yet, though. I'll give it another book or two. ;)

Iliana: Thanks! We saw the movie with Serena the day it came out. I can't wait to see it again.

Wanda: I haven't heard of those books, but I'll have to check them out. Thanks for the recommendation.

Naida: Thanks!

S. Krishna: Thanks! I hope you get a chance to read it soon.

Staci: Thanks!