Coraline by Neil Gaiman
3 out of 5 stars
It's October, the weather is turning cooler (much cooler for us Texans this weekend!!), Halloween is right around the corner, and ghosts, witches, & goblins are in the stores and on TV. It only feels right to read spooky books this month and I decided to start with Coraline. :) It has been several years (4+) since I've read this, so it was like starting over for me! I tried watching the movie when it came out on DVD and absolutely hated it. I don't know why.
I think I'm going to reread The Graveyard Book next and then maybe some Christopher Pike. Oh and I'm reading Edgar Allen Poe for my classic this month and should have several reviews up for that in the next few weeks. What are your favorite spooky books and movies for this time of year? Do you like the super scary books like Stephen King or are you a big coward like me and stick to the kid books? :) We watched Practical Magic yesterday afternoon, but our favorite Halloween movie is, of course, Hocus Pocus. (If you don't own this one, it looks like you can watch it all on YouTube!) And, since this has turned into a half update post...I'm thinking of doing a quick spooky book giveaway this week! I have a couple of extra Christopher Pike books so I thought it'd be a good time to give them away. It will probably be US only (I'll do a bigger one at Christmas!) so that I can get them sent out super quick. So look for that post tomorrow! Yay!!
Okay, on to the review! Coraline is a creepy story, yes, but it's more of an adventure too. Our titled character is a young girl (maybe age 7-8? It's not real clear) who has just moved into a large split-level house with her parents. She likes to spend her time exploring the large backyard and begging her mother for day-glo green gloves and froggy rainboots. Coraline is forced to stay inside one rainy day and so, at her father's suggestion, decides to explore the inside of the house. She counts all of the doors and discovers one that is locked. When her mother finds the key and opens it for her, she is disappointed to find that it is bricked up and once went to the flat next door, which is currently vacant. Her mother leaves it unlocked and Coraline goes on her way, but she can't stop thinking about that door.
Later on, Coraline again finds herself in front of the door and upon opening it, is (not so) surprised to see that it goes into a long hallway now. Walking thru she sees that she is somehow back in her flat, with her grandmother's old furniture and everything. But it all seems slightly off. Then she sees her mother. Or rather, her Other Mother. This woman sounds, looks, and acts just like Coraline's real mother, but she has flat, black, button eyes and there is something sharp and sinister about her. Same with her Other Father, although maybe not quite so much. Her Other Mother tells her that they have been waiting for her and want to do all the things her real parents don't have time for: play games, eat yummy treats, let Coraline wear whatever she wants, and really just pay attention to her. There is just one catch: Coraline must get new button eyes as well. That part really freaked me out lol.
Coraline declines, politely, and goes back to her own home, where she realizes her real parents seem to be missing. She knows that they are somehow trapped in the other land and that she must work up the courage to go back over there and save them. Luckily, she is not completely alone...she has a smart, sassy, talking black cat to help her and show her the Other Mother's true nature.
She wants something to love, I think. Something that isn't her. She might want something to eat as well. It's hard to tell with creatures like that.
Coraline's adventure to save her parents is funny in parts and terrifying in others. She comes to realize that she doesn't want "anything and everything" like her Other Mother is offering. No one really wants that. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted just like that, and it didn't mean anything? What then? She is a smart little girl, brave, resourceful and a real delight to read about. This is a quick read with illustrations scattered throughout that are guaranteed to give you the heebie-jeebies. And if you're a weenie, like me, you will read this in the middle of the afternoon on the couch with lots of noise going on lol. But if you are brave, like Coraline, tuck yourself in under the covers, late at night, with just one small light and prepare for delicious shivers up your spine.