Saturday, September 3, 2011

Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

I saw the movie when it came out, expecting a nice children's film. I was wrong: while aimed at youths, this is by far one of the creepiest stories ever told. Thinking of the Other Mother still makes my spine cold. I loved that film, so I read the book.

PLOT. - When Coraline Jones and her parents move into a boring old house, Coraline is desperate to find something to do, so she goes exploring. She finds nothing at first, and then she finds an old door sealed shut by layers of paint. Her mother cuts open the layers and opens it, and they find...a brick wall. Disappointed, Coraline leaves, but late that night she follows a mouse to the door, which now leads to a tunnel. She walks into a parallel world and finds that it is mostly the same, except much better. The food is good, everything is colorful, and the people are nice. They also have jet-black buttons for eyes. Just as Coraline is beginning to get comfortable here, they offer to let her stay forever, with one "teeny little thing she has to do": let the Other Mother sew buttons into her eyes. Coraline has to find a way out of this nightmarish world and then back once the Other Mother steals her original parents. Thoroughly mortifying, this.

I enjoyed the story, but I thought the writing, while not bad, was a bit sparse. Needed more "meat on the bones," as my grade-school teachers would say. Also, I thought it odd that the Other Father tried to help Coraline when he was created and controlled by the Other Mother. You'd think he'd be like a puppet in her bony, knobby hand. With giant nails. Ugh. That part was awesome, but I digress. I actually liked the movie better, just because it filled in the bone-spaces. Both were quite dark, however, and are sure to induce nightmares in all ages. But I liked it. Very good.

Final grade: C

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