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!