Neil Gaiman – Coraline


Coraline has just moved to a new house, and after acquainting herself with the neighbours, she sets about to ‘explore’ the place, for, you see, she is a self-acclaimed “explorer”. She finds the well she’s been warned to stay away from, just to know what to stay away from, and spends as much time outdoors as possible.

However, one rainy day, she stumbles upon a door in the living room, which opens only to greet her with a brick wall. And apparently, nothing on the other side – or so Coraline’s mother tells her.

However, surprise, surprise! One fine day, the brick wall disappears and Coraline finds herself in a parallel world, where the “flat” seems to be an exact replica of her flat – including Mother and Father, or the “other mother” and the “other father” – who look similar to Coraline’s parents but…

Coraline went into the kitchen, where the voice had come from. A woman stood in the kitchen with her back to Coraline. She looked a little like Coraline’s mother. Only…

Only her skin was white as paper.

Only she was taller and thinner.

Only her fingers were too long, and they never stopped moving, and her dark-red fingernails were curved and sharp.

“Coraline?” the woman said. “Is that you?”

And then she turned around. Her eyes were big black buttons.

Her “other” parents don’t want much – they just want an obedient daughter to stay with them, and love them…. and when Coraline’s ready to commit to that, they can sew the buttons on to her eyes as well! Creepy…

I loved this book, for its simplicity, innocence, and of course, the feel-good factor. It’s a children’s books, but the story is enjoyable for most people, and while there are bits and bobs which are predictable, one has to keep in mind the audience the book is meant to cater to. You have talking cats, spying rats, an unassuming heroine, and some great characters.

I haven’t seen the movie, yet, but I do want to… might have to rent it on DVD or something.

This was my first book by Neil Gaiman, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more of his works.

Rating: 4

21 Responses to “Neil Gaiman – Coraline”

  1. awww I’m so glad you liked it! I have it to read on my fantasy 101 challenge list. I think the movie would be great to see on the big screen in 3D but i fear I may be a bit too late!

    • Yeah, it’s a pity, but I missed the movie as well, and now have to watch it on DVD :(

      Hope you get to it soon, for I’d love to know how you like it.

      • The DVD has the 3D version and if you buy it, the movie comes with 4 sets of 3D glasses. We rented the film so had to suffice with seeing it in 2D. It’s perfectly marvelous in 2D but the commentary explains how the 3D was used to set apart the real world from the other world.

  2. Excuse me while I regress…It was really fun to see on the 3D big screen! *neener neener*

    Glad you liked it and want to read more Gaiman.

  3. I’m going to buy this for my kids: and then read it (to me!)

    The film made a big impression on my family. On holiday there was a small mysterious panel nailed to the wall. In days past kids might have made Enid Blyton secret passage connections, but mine were concerned about being led by mice into a parallel universe. And they sometimes call me ‘other mother’ or ‘button eyes!’

    Do see the film, it is visually gorgeous.

    • You need to re-phrase that…

      “I’m going to buy this for me, but I’ll tell everyone it’s for the kids, and no one will be the wiser” :P

      I didn’t make the Enid Blyton connection, simply because… I don’t know. It didn’t feel Enid Blyton-esque to me. It reminded me of Spirited Away though, and some other Japanese anime. I can kinda see the secret passage connections, but…. I don’t know! (I’ve said that twice on one train of thought – that clearly means I have absolutely no clue what I’m talking about).

      Haha, do you have scary red hook nails as well? :) I wonder if they’ve mastered the art of when it’s appropriate to call you the “other mother”, and when it’s not… :p

      • I haven’t been called ‘other mother’ in public… yet! More by luck than judgement :)

  4. I attended a viewing of Coraline 3D with a Q&A afterwards with Neil Gaiman and the director Henry Selick :D. It was LOTS of fun. 3D editions of the DVD are available for purchase (they come with glasses). I thought the film was very well done.

    I’m a big Neil Gaiman fan and love his books. He also knows how to write very good short stories…

    • That sounds pretty cool. A friend was planning on getting the DVD. I’m going to get her to “expedite”, because, it might be quite interesting to see the 3D edition, methinks. Never seen that on telly.

      I need to find more books by him to read. I might give Fragile Things a shot, as I have a copy here… and, well, let’s see if I appreciate this anthology of short stories.

  5. Neil did an introduction/Q&A before a viewing at WorldCon. It was really fun and interesting.

    Claire, I agree on the shorts.

  6. I have to get around to this someday. I’ve only read a novel that he wrote with Terry Pratchett so I should read one of his own books too! :-)

    • What did you think of Good Omens? It’s on my TBR list as is Terry Pratchett in general. I’ve been told I’ll get a kick out of Pratchett’s humor.

      • Marie, I think you should. I totally enjoyed it, and it’s such an easy read. Wonder what you thought of Good Omens as well…

        Mish, I’ve read one Pratchett, and absolutely loved it. Must find more works by him to read as well, although, I’m not sure I want to tackle all of the Disc World series.

  7. Hi there!

    I too will be getting this for my son! (Yeah, right!)

    Sounds great, and I am looking forward to reading this. I have heard of it before, but didn’t know it was a film, too.

    Thanks. I loved your review it really makes me want to buy it!

    • For your son, huh? Ok, I believe you……

      Film came out earlier on this year. As you can probably make out from the comments, it’s a must-see… maybe “your son” will enjoy it as well (as will you, umm, probably)?

  8. I just bought this book today! Well, the graphic novel, that is. I did so in preparation of the 24 hrs read-a-thon later this month :) I have never read anything by Neil Gaiman either, but I keep reading ABOUT him!

    • Aww, you should read this. I didn’t know there was a graphic novel though… I really hope you enjoy it, and am curious to know how you find the graphic novel. I’ve never actually read a graphic novel (although, I’ve had Maus on my TBR for ages).

      Good luck with the 24 hour read-a-thon!

  9. I watched this film a few days ago. Coraline was absolutely adorable. I love the outfits they gave her and her expressions. She’s such a great, sassy little character.

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