Neil Gaiman’s Coraline

January 21st, 2011 Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Fantasy, Fiction, Kelly, Middle Grade

The first thing I appreciated about Coraline by Neil Gaiman is its epigraph by G. K. Chesterton: “Fairy tale are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

Neil Gaimon's Coraline

Coraline has her own dragon of sorts to defeat over the course of the novella. When the story begins, Coraline is exploring her new home and neighborhood. One of the fourteen doors in Coraline’s new flat usually opens to a brick wall. But Coraline finds a passageway from that door to leads to a flat identical to her own, but with better food and toys. But it also contains a creepy “other” mother and father who have buttons for eyes. They also want to keep Coraline. Forever.

The Other Mother kidnaps Coraline’s real parents, and locks Coraline behind the mirror when she doesn’t behave. Will Coraline be able to escape her other mother and resume her real life?

I really enjoyed the sparse language and the sinister creepiness of the story. I like the way the paranormal world echoes her life, but with details I didn’t expect but enjoyed (like the paranormal stage show attended by dogs who eat chocolate).  The eccentric neighbors in both worlds were great. The story reminded me of a very dark fairy tale, and Coraline had the resources within herself to solve her problems.

Reviewed by: Kelly

Title: Coraline
Author: Neil Gaiman
Date Finished: January 21, 2011
Source: Public Library

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