To be honest there are two main reasons I decided to read Coraline by Neail Gaiman, and they had nothing to do with the book itself or the movie adaptation.
Reason #1: I found a first edition, like-new, hardcover, UK edition of this novel in a Used Bookstore in Maine. For FIVE DOLLARS.
Reason #2: The close of 2012 was fast approaching and I was two books shy of my 30 books in 2012 goal. I hate not reaching goals/completing challenges/etc. It feels like failure. So, Coraline clocks in at under 200 pages. Meaning it was a good pick to help me reach my goal.
Now, that being said, Coraline was so much more than a cheap, easy-to-read book that I grabbed off my shelf. It was a wonderful book. Full of fantasy, adventure, and a moral or two tacked on for good measure.
What Happened Was...
We meet Coraline just as she and her parents have moved into a new house. Her parents are busy with their jobs and give Coraline free range of the house and the grounds. Which is excellent to Coraline because she is an explorer and therefore she spends her lat summer days before starting at a new school exploring every inch of her new world. She explores the gardens and fields around her house (discovering an old, hidden well). She explores the people who live in other apartments in her building (including two old actress sisters and one man who is trying to train a bunch of mice into circus performers). And finally she explores every inch of her new house.
In one room she finds a small door that when opened there is just a brick wall behind it. Intrigued, Coraline returns to the door and eventually is able to pass through a tunnel into another parallel universe where everything is exactly the same as it is in the real world. However, things aren't exactly as they seem. There's another mother and another father on this side of the door and they want Coraline to stay with them forever as their little girl. Their only distinguishing difference is that they have buttons instead of eyes. At first this seems lovely to Coraline as the other parents dote on her constantly. But as she explores the other house and the other yard and the other neighbors she soon learns that there may be more behind the other parent's button eyes.
Teamed up with a Black Cat who seems to be able to move between the two worlds, Coraline must use everything in her power to fight back against the other mother and other father to get back to her real home before it's too late.
This book is so different from American Gods that I can hardly believe that Gaiman wrote both of them! There is imagination and adventure and fantasy in both, but they're just worlds apart.
I loved Coraline. So stinkin' much. What a fun, quirky book. Sure, it has it's dark and creepy parts (hello, people whose eyes have been replaced by buttons?!), but it's still an immensely creative and thought provoking book. There's good and bad, there are morals taught, there's a strong and confident female character that (surprise!) isn't caught up in a love triangle that dominates all her thoughts and actions, and there's a sassy and intelligent cat that can talk. What more could you want from a book. Really?
I can see this as being a good book for an adult or a child. But I can totally see this as being a good book for an adult to read with a child. You can be there for each other during the scary parts, laugh at the cat, and enjoy the adventure that Gaiman is taking you along for.
So, go, find yourself a kid.
Or enjoy it on your own.
Either way, just get reading.
And then let me know how you feel about this book, okay?
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: YA/Children's; Fantasy; Fiction
Medium: Hard Cover (First Edition: UK)
Date Read: 24 December 2012
First Line: Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house.
Favorite Line: The cat wrinkled his nose and managed to look unimpressed. "Calling cats," it confided, "tends to be a rather overrated activity. Might as well call a whirlwind."
Recommended: Totally. What a fun, imaginative read!
Recommended For: Late Elementary +, Gaiman Fanatics, Those Looking For Something Quick To Read, Fantasy Lovers, Those With A Sense of Adventure
Source: $5 at a Used Book Store