Review : Coraline

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Pages : 162
Genre : children, fantasy, horror
My Rating : 

Coraline was my first read for the 24 hours read-a-thon, and what a read! Well written, original, scary, amusing, magical, are all words I could use to describe this book. There are few modern tales I could compare to the classical ones that I lived for as a kid, but Coraline certainly is one of those. It’s one of those stories I’ll read again and again… and again.

When Coraline explores her new home, she steps through a door and into another house just like her own… except that it’s different. It’s a marvelous adventure until Coraline discovers that there’s also another mother and another father in the house. They want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to keep her forever!

Coraline is great on many aspects; one of them was the strenght of the characters, numerous for such a short book. Gaiman needs very few words to create portraits of them that are interesting, by using a rule many authors seem to, sadly, ignore : show, don’t tell. In their actions and in their words, the characters reveal their personnality. From the two ladies living downstair to the cat, each of them jumps off the page, incredibly real. Coraline is no exception. She is very child-like, curious and intelligent; all great qualities for a little girl who likes to explore.

Another aspect I enjoyed was the “message”, and how subtle it was. Again, Gaiman shows rather than tells, making the message part of the story. For me, it was a beautiful tale of how life is beautiful, the good as well as the bad. Coraline discovers, through her adventure, that a perfect life would only be boring, and that she likes to keep it surprising. I also loved how she went to save not only her parents, but also the soulless children she had just met.

It’s creepy, surprising, a little scary. The writing is simple, but the story isn’t, making it a fun read even for older readers.  I’m not surprised this story was made into a movie, and I regret not seing it when it came out in theatres. I will certainly watch it as soon as I can get my hand on the DVD!


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11 responses to “Review : Coraline”

  1. Steph says :

    I’ve only read one Neil Gaiman book before and I really didn’t like it very much. BUT, we went to see this when it was in theaters (we even saw it in 3D!), and I really enjoyed it quite a lot. The few things I didn’t like in the movie are apparently not even in the book, so I think I would like the book even more. I’ll have to read it one of these days…

    • kay says :

      Interesting! What did you read from Gaiman?

      I’ve never read anything else than Coraline – I have Stardust, which I tried to read on many occasions but could never really get into. I think his writing is a bit special, not something that can please anyone. I’m a bit hesitant to say that I’d like something else by him as much!

  2. nat @ book, line, and sinker says :

    i haven’t read this and missed the movie too. i love to see books with young and strong female characters. i have a few young cousins who are always looking for book suggestions–now i have one to give! thanks. 🙂

  3. Care says :

    I liked Coraline better than Stardust. I liked the MOVIE Stardust better than the book and I liked Coraline the book better than the movie – but it was still wonderful!

  4. Steph says :

    Kay, I read Stardust because I wanted to go see the movie. I wasn’t able to finish the book before the movie came out, and I wound up REALLY not enjoying the movie at all. So then I finished the book just because the writing was easy and it was simple enough to plow through it, but I didn’t like the book much more either. I know most people were utterly enraptured by Stardust, but not I! Coraline was much, much better in my opinion.

    • kay says :

      I guess I’ll have to see the movie. I usually try to read the book before I see a movie that is inspired from one, but with Stardust I just couldn’t get into it, so I hoped, at the time, that seing the movie would put me more in the mood for it. Sadly, it didn’t work!

  5. kay says :

    Nat: I like strong female characters too, and Coraline really is a GREAT one. I hope your cousins will enjoy it 🙂

    Care: I thought the movie Stardust was ok but I could never get into the book, every time I tried. Coraline was a great read though, I can’t wait to see the movie too!

  6. diaryofaneccentric says :

    My daughter and I finished this one during the read-a-thon. I saw the movie when it came out, and I can’t wait to see it again. I’ve added your link to my review here.


  7. kim says :

    Loved this review. I’ve been curious about this–will definitely check out now .Thanks!

    BTW- Love your blog!

    • kay says :

      Thanks! 🙂 It’s a really good read, hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

      And BTW : I love your blog too! 🙂

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  1. Book Review: “Coraline” | The Cheap Reader - August 19, 2011

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