Debriefing: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Posted on March 10, 2009. Filed under: Books, Personal Reviews |

A spooky, serious story of a brave little Coraline. This is juvenile fiction book, but I would be weary about what age the children are that you share this with. As a 23 year old the vivid detail and great writing made the book a little creepy for me (and I can’t wait for the movie!).

Coraline is an adventurous little girl. She likes to explore and know about the world around her. She has great relationships with her neighbors and carelessly wanders about their apartments, as well as her own. Coraline is also very observant – she knows many things about her home and not much escapes her view. One on of her many explorations she finds a door that she is told leads to only bricks, but after securing the key for this mysterious door she learns that there is more behind it than just a brick wall.

Coraline wants to know what is beyond that door and she yearns to explore every inch of it. She is rather surprised to find that on the other side of the door is a world that is almost a mirror image of her ‘real’ world. Complete with neighbors and parents, while they are not exact copies they are close copies, although everything is a little more strange on that side of the door. Coraline receives sage advice from her neighbors as well as from her neighbor’s pets. This advice helps her through a dangerous journey that she accomplishes only through bravey, skill and exploration.

Coraline is a great story overall – she is a girl who does not give up easily. She was given a mission and she would not rest until that was complete, no matter how scared she was or how many challenges were thrown in her face. She had courage and that helped her get through the evil that was surrounding her. Parts of this story reminded me of Alice in Wonderland – a cryptic talking cat as well as a young girl that explores where she most likely should not be through small doors. They are not very similar tales, just interesting the parallel to the characters that I noticed there. Overall it is a great tale. The author is very expressive and the words that he uses are SO vivid that it is hard for an adult not to have this dark painted image in their heads as they read the tale. If the movie is half as good as the book it should be a major success! The book was wonderful and I recommend it to everyone who enjoys a great children’s tale once in a while, at 150(ish) pages it is not terribly long, but not terribly quick either (in a good way). Pick it up, but beware that it may seriously frighten some smaller children.


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