Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

This review can also be found on my Goodreads.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reason for Reading: It’s October! I wanted to read something in the horror department. I also wanted to try reading something in the Junior/Mid-Kids age range (work related).

I was on Tumblr a week or so ago, and I saw a post where someone mentioned that Coraline is an adventure for kids but a horror for adults. Well, I’ve seen the movie and while it had some unsettling moments, I didn’t think it was a horror story. So, I decided to read it for myself.

I will say, there are a number of differences between the book and the movie. One, it’s creepier. While it’s not scary enough to have me shaking underneath the covers (although I didn’t expect it to), it did give me some haunting images to keep in my head. Characters in the movie were not in the book, but this was not a disappointment. I rather liked that the boy was not originally in the story. How the story ends is different, but that is also due to the boy missing from the story.

Coraline is interesting. She’s sharp but will still go toward something even though she knows it’s a trap. At first, this annoyed me. Why would she go into the cellar even though the soul children warned her it was a trap? Even though Coraline agreed that it was a trap? There wasn’t another soul in the cellar, only the other father who tried to trap her down there. I think that scene bothered me the most. It did not show Coraline’s childish tendencies to explore the unknown, but rather…Well, I don’t know and that’s the issue.

The cat was, without a doubt, my favorite character. Funny enough, I don’t remember much of him from the movie, but I thought he stole the show in the book.

Finally, I want to talk about the picnic scene. One of the three children that Coraline is playing with, has wings and flies around when they’re playing tag. I feel like that has to mean something, but I’m not sure. Or, maybe it’s just an element of the dream world.

Coraline was a good read. It kept my attention from beginning to end. What I really liked is that the other mother’s hand is not destroyed like it is in the movie. In the film, it’s clear that the other mother’s plan has failed. In the book, the hand is still ‘alive’ but trapped inside a well. The planks could be removed days, months, or years later. Because the hand is from another world, could it survive in the well? Could it get out? Which leaves me to this final thought: is the story really over?

And that my fellow adventurers, is what makes this book creepy.




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