Neil Gaiman wrote Coraline for his daughter who was a young child at the time. According to the insert at the end of the book about why he wanted to write it, it’s because he wanted to write a book with a female hero and have the book a bit creepy (see the iTunes version of Coraline).
Those of you who are fans of Neil Gaiman may already know Coraline as one of his books. Others may remember the title as one of Tim Burton’s movies, which is obviously based on the book.
Coraline is a young girl who has just moved into a new flat with her parents. Her parents are busy with their jobs and don’t pay enough attention to her, there isn’t enough for her to do, they make boring food and won’t let her buy fun clothes.
The one day she discovers a doorway into a sort of alternate world with an apartment almost like her own with her other mother and other father. They have buttons in their eyes. The other mother wants Coraline to stay so that she can love Coraline (but in a really greedy way). When Coraline says no, things go sour and the other mother kidnaps her real parents. Coraline has to bravely step up to save her real parents and the souls of three children the other mother had also kidnapped and either allowed to die from intentional neglect or outright murdered (either way, not good).
I love Coraline, it’s a dark fantasy that attracted the likes of Tim Burton. In the Neil Gaiman books that I have read so far, I have really enjoyed them because he has a distinctive writing style with being quirky and he is capable of being abstract or fantastic or dark. He also did an amazing job at making Coraline a tough heroine who would brave monster to save her family and children she’d just barely met.
Because of it’s darkness, despite being intended for children, it is also a great read for adults. Since it’s a really short book, it’s the sort of book you could reasonably read over a weekend at the lake.
Plus, in my opinion Coraline, the movie edition, is an absolute must see. Tim Burton, much like Neil Gaiman, is an excellent writer (director? producer? cinematic big wig?) and movies are bound to be interesting.
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publication date: January 24, 2002
Publisher: Bloomsbury (UK), Harper Collins (US)
Genre: Horror, Dark fantasy, Young Adult, Children
Page count: 163