Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review: Coraline – Neil Gaiman

Coraline – Neil Gaiman

Coraline's often wondered what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her "other" parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures. 
Gaiman has delivered a wonderfully chilling novel, subtle yet intense on many levels. The line between pleasant and horrible is often blurred until what's what becomes suddenly clear, and like Coraline, we resist leaving this strange world until we're hooked. Unnerving drawings also cast a dark shadow over the book's eerie atmosphere, which is only heightened by simple, hair-raising text. Coraline is otherworldly storytelling at its best.

Review: One rainy day, a girl named Coraline gets so bored that she decides to find out what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. She discovers an apartment that looks exactly like the one where she lives, but the similarities are only surface deep. Coraline ends up on a fast-paced adventure with a bunch of creepy creatures.

If I had read this book as a kid, it might have been one of my favorite books ever. I loved Alice in Wonderland, and this reminded me of a modernized, urbanized version of Alice. I can see why so many kids are crazy about Coraline.

This is a short book, only about 160 pages, so it's a quick read for adults. The story is a little scary, but I think most kids could handle it.

If I had to find something to criticize, it would be the writing. It's very simplistic, and there is a lot of repetition of names, actions, and feelings. Repetition is fine if it's purposeful, but this didn't seem purposeful to me. There are two paragraphs in a row where every sentence starts with "She." I know that this is a kids' book, and the writing should be clear and simple, but I also know that this author is capable of better writing than what's in this book.

The plot and characters are amazing. Coraline is brave, quirky, and very likable. The world is unique and imaginative. I really appreciate that the author doesn't talk down to his readers. The plot is complex, but he trusts that kids are smart enough to "get it." This is a very fun book. I loved it.


  1. Hi Ashley! I've nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Check my post here. :)

    Danna @ A Reading Habit

  2. Coraline was a fun book :) I also wish I had read it when I was a kid, so that I could have loved it to its full extent. My favorite part of the book was definitely the cat, haha. I like to believe that if cats could talk, that is exactly what they would sound like.

    Cucie @ Cucie reads

  3. I watched the movie but haven't read the book yet. I wish I had encountered this book when I was a kid. I'm sure it will be a personal favorite of mine. Even as an adult, I still find the story spine chilling. :)

    1. You should totally read the book. :)

      Aj @ Read All The Things!