Coraline Book Review
Coraline is a novel written by Neil Gaiman. It starts near the end of the summer holidays when a young and curious girl named Coraline is extremely bored. Her life takes an interesting turn when her tea leaves are read by her two peculiar neighbours, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible. They say that she will be in grave time danger and gives her an oddly shaped stone with a hole in the middle which is ‘good for bad things, sometimes.’
While her parents are out shopping, Coraline discovers a little door which connects her house to a warped reality that mirrors the real world. She enters the passageway and finds herself enjoying the Other World more than she should because her Other Mother and Other Father pays her much more attention. In the beginning, she really wants to stay, but as time goes on, she discovers the Other Mother’s real intentions.
The story of Coraline shows values of courage and family in many different situations. At first, Coraline was doubtful to whether to save her parents from the beldam or to stay put, but then she realises that they would do the same for her. Across the way of getting rid of the Other Mother, Coraline comes across many obstacles and meets many new people (living and nonliving), who help her on this journey. Coraline herself is scared to death but because of the lesson she learned from the past, ‘when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave’, she goes on to rescue her real parents and find the souls of the three ghost children. Despite the fact that there’s a very high chance she could be stuck in the Other World forever, she brushes off her fear and faces the challenge with immense bravery.
One of the many people she meets is the Cat. He is a knowledgeable and witty creature who guides Coraline throughout the book. He claims to have no name, explaining that cats do not need names to tell each other apart. At first, he acted superior to Coraline but over time he learns to respect her and even becomes her friend. Coraline and the Cat team up together and he rescues one of the three ghost children’s souls. By the end of the book, Coraline and the Black Cat have become close companions and once they return back to the Real World, the Cat moves in with Coraline.
Neil Gaiman sets the book in the third person, meaning that a narrator is telling the story, mainly from Coraline’s point of view. Having it set in the third person gives the audience an outsider perspective while not losing Coraline’s inner thoughts. Gaiman also cleverly gave it a childlike simplicity while still making it enjoyable for adults to read. Coraline definitely has the element of fantasy within it. The Other World is full of enchantments, talking animals and many strange surprises that can’t happen in everyday life. The book also includes horror and mystery. The Other Mother being the version of horror. She has big black button eyes which becomes a key symbol for stealing Coraline’s freedom. The button eyes immediately let the readers know that Coraline is in the Other World, highlighting how disturbing and imposing it is.
After all the adventures, Coraline is finally ready to go to school. Throughout the book, she was brave and frightened, self-reliant and doubtful and finally, triumphant. The novel is perfect for children who like a bit of adventure and great for adults who enjoy horror. Neil Gaiman crafted a brilliant atmosphere in Coraline and it was composed very cleverly. However, I only wish that this fascinating plot was just a bit longer! But this is definitely a spine-tingling read I would recommend for ages 9+. Read it if you dare…