[Book Review] Coraline

Coraline_Audio_coverTitle: Coraline
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy, Horror
Published: 2002
Recommended for ages 8 to 12 and up
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Audiobook: Narrated by Neil Gaiman

WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT?

Here’s a description from the author’s website:

When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous.

But there’s another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Coraline will have to fight with all her wits and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life.

WHAT DID I THINK OF THE BOOK?

I liked it quite a bit, actually. To be honest, I’m haven’t really been a fan of Neil Gaiman since I’ve read one of his books that was aimed for older readers (American Gods, which I didn’t like, don’t ask). But Coraline is aimed for younger readers, and it seemed like such an interesting story, so I set my apprehension aside and picked up the audiobook. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it just fine. It also helped a lot that Mr. Gaiman turned out to be a very good narrator. His voice is easy on the ears. And I appreciated it even more that he himself narrated the story he wrote.

Granted, it was a bit of a morbid story for kids –with ghost children, an odd alternate world with the other mother and the other father, the other mother wanting to sew button eyes on Coraline so she would stay with her forever, and a skittering bony hand– it wasn’t too scary for kids though, I think.

QUOTABLE QUOTES

  • “I don’t want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted just like that, and it didn’t mean anything? What then?” – Coraline
  • “Cats don’t have names,” it said.
    “No?” said Coraline.
    “No,” said the cat. “Now you people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names.”
  • And despite herself, Coraline nodded. It was true. The other mother loved her. But she loved Coraline as a miser loves money, or a dragon loves its gold.
  • “Because,” she [Coraline] said, “when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.”

TO WRAP IT UP…

The story has some morbid elements, but I don’t think it would be too scary for kids within the recommended age bracket (8 to 12 and up). You could also watch the animated version of it with your kids instead.

Coraline got me a bit interested in reading more of Mr. Gaiman’s works for younger readers, preferably the audiobooks. He’s quite an enjoyable narrator to listen to. Very engaging. It might even change my mind and decide on giving one of his books for older readers another shot (maybe, just one… Stardust, perhaps? Is that any good?).

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