Monday, January 12, 2009

Coraline


Last summer, while sprawled out on the beach, I read Neil Gaiman's book Stardust. It had been brought to my attention because of the movie and I found that I absolutely adored the book! I had heard of Neil Gaiman previously but aside from this singular book I didn't know very much about him or his writing.


When the previews for Coraline began circling the internet and my friends who are very loyal Gaiman fans began getting excited I figured this was another book that I should know a thing or two about. So on my last day at work, the final day I had an employee discount, the last day I'd get to meander the bookstore and buy books at my leisure, I picked up Coraline and took it home.

It's a children's book, just so you all know. It's written for children and therefore took me awhile to get into. But the story quickly caught on to my mind and the pace was fast. I was sucked into Coraline's world, both real and 'other', and really began to enjoy the book.

In many ways it's a story of every child. Coraline feels not only bored but ignored by her parents. She's an only child and takes to being an explorer of her home and the surrounding land. I certainly did this type of thing constantly as a child because I too am an only child and many times felt my parents ignored me. I even broke into a neighbors house once because I thought I was Harriet the Spy. But that's another story...

The story is quirky and cute although a little bit scary (I'm figuring for a child it would be). But it's clear that there is a reason to the story, a lesson for the little ones, to appreciate one another and what you have. Well, that's what I felt the story meant. I don't want to put any words in Mr. Gaiman's mouth!

It follows the main character, Coraline, as she explores her home and the surrounding area. She meets funny characters along the way such as her neighbors who were once actresses and the neighbor who lives upstairs and has a circus of mice (but no one has seen them yet because they're still in training!). Her curiosity brings her through a doorway in her home and into a mirrored world of her own. The 'other' home with her 'other' parents. Her 'other' mother and 'other' father are there including her 'other' neighbors but the difference is that they all have button eyes. No less, her parents seem actually interested in Coraline which seems to be lacking in her real life. But the seeming perfectness of this land quickly changes. You know, life isn't perfect.


Coraline discovers her real life parents have been taken by her 'other mother' and has to get them back. With the aide of three ghost children and a black cat Coraline dives into an adventure that she had never expected she would have.

The story is being adapted into a movie that's due out soon. I'm excited for it and will probably run out to my local theatre to see it. The director Henry Selick has done a number of clay-mation movies before (Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, etc) so I'm sure it will come out lovely. Really, I'm very much excited about the movie. I live for this type of stuff.
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Next Read:
Emily Dickinson's Poetry
...but I probably won't report on that.

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