"Coraline" by Neil Gaiman

"When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seems marvelous. But there's another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go. Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life. "

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Of the few children's horror books out there, Neil Gaiman's 2002 short novel Coraline, is one of the must-read for that age group. When a young girl named Coraline, and her family move into a new house (one which shares its basement and attic with other tenets), she finds a locked door that leads to nowhere, but soon after the door opens to a house that mirrors her own, yet the people there are a little bit "different. "


The people here look like the people from the world on the other side of the door, but these people have big buttons for eyes, and some are younger than their counterparts, but the most odd are her "other" parents, who, in her world, don't spend very much time with Coraline, and these two buttoned-eyed parents pay so much attention to her that they want her to stay with them forever just so they can make her happy. Coraline even meets a talking black cat, but the cat tells her it was smart to bring protection to this world (a stone with a hole in it that was given to her in the other world by two older lady tenets); this makes Coraline wonder why she would need protection in such a great place like this.


But for Coraline to stay in this world, her other mother and father tell her there is only one little thing she has to do to make that happen: " 'If you want to stay,' said her other father, 'there's only one little thing we'll have to do, so you can stay here for ever and always. '

They went to into the kitchen. On a china plate on the kitchen table was a spool of black cotton, and a long silver needle, and, beside them, two large black buttons. "

Coraline must allow her other parents to sew buttons over her eyes, but she adamantly refuses to allow them; her other parents don't argue with her, but rather bid her farewell, stating they'll see her again soon.


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When Coraline returns to her normal world, she comes to realize that her parents are missing. Coraline now knows that the other parents will stop at nothing, including kidnapping her real parents, to get her to join them. Coraline goes back to the other world, demanding that the other parents give her real ones back. It's always that easy, right?


Wrong. Since the other parents are not willing to let Coraline go so easily, the other mother decides to play a game with Coraline, which is if she can find the souls of the other children this other mother has taken, she'll not only get to go home, but also get to take her real parents with her.


Fortunately, Coraline wasn't working alone in this game - - - remember the black cat? - - - she even has to face the 'other' counterparts of the tenets that live in the building. Since the movie of Coraline is still popular, most readers can guess what happens, but maybe not exactly how it happens.


Some readers may realize that the movie is quite different from the book. Most books are different from their film counterparts, but then you have books such as Stephen King's 'The Shining' (which you can read my review of by clicking the link), which are practically complete opposites of the movie. I don't believe that those, like myself, who watched the movie 'Coraline,' before reading the book will be disappointed by it, although there are quite a few differences throughout.


I have to end my review here because to tell you any more of the story would give away some of what makes Coraline such a great book. Which is not surprising coming from Neil Gaiman (you can read my reviews of his books: 'The Graveyard Book' and 'American Gods' by clicking the links), whose writing is always clear and concise, never slowing scenes down. Gaiman's children-age books are always flawless in both idea and writing.


Although this story is for ages 8 - 12, as an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I highly recommend this book as a great way to introduce children to the horror genre, and to older people that like a good creepy story to read.

My Rating:




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