(originally posted on my livejournal account: http://intoyourlungs.livejournal.com/27267.html#cutid2)
I picked this book up at work near the end of October in order to get my in the Halloween mood. It's a really short book, so I just read it on my breaks at work. I consider myself a Gaiman fan, even though I was pretty ambivalent about American Gods (not to say it's bad -- it just didn't resonate with me.) :) I am however in love with his Sandman graphic novel series and this title seemed to be a little more in that vein, but for a younger audience.
GUYS, this novel is so so creepy. I unfortunately didn't get to finish it before Halloween, but I really enjoyed it regardless. It's such a perfect fall read.
One of my favorite things about Gaiman is that even when his stories don't resonate with me (like American Gods) I love love love his writing to pieces. This man is a freakin' wordsmith and I gobble up his prose like candy. Coraline is no exception -- it's got a fairy-tale kind of cadence to it which lends itself perfectly to the story and the target audience. It's also got that sinister layer underneath it, which adds to the creep factor, and there is much creepiness to be had here people.
What's also great about this book is how it actually relates to the childhood experience. I know this isn't the case for everyone, but most people at some point in their childhood feel lonely, though it's not always because of parental neglect like with Coraline's parents. Neglect might be a bit harsh, but they did seem largely disinterested in her. But maybe it came off that way because this story was from Coraline's POV (though it was 3rd person narration.) Anyway, I digress. My point is that Gaiman really captured that feeling of being a lonely kid. He also captured the spirit of a child -- the restlessness, and the constant need to cure boredom that Coraline feels which leads her to the Other world behind the door.
So yeah... the Other world. HOLY HELL. Other Mother is seriously one of the creepiest beings ever. It didn't help that I had already seen the movie before reading the book, so I had the perfect image of Other Mother in all her creepy stop-motion glory firmly emblazoned in my mind. The image from David McKeenan definitely didn't help either. Speaking of the pictures, they were absolutely perfect for this story. Like that picture with the Other Mother's decapitated hand? GUHH!!
Final Verdict: This is a really fun otherworldly adventure story that I can see kids gobbling up. Not only is it good fun, but it's got some awesome writing behind it too (I never expect less from the awesome Mr. Gaiman) and it is CREEPY!! Maybe some kids will be turned off by this, but I loved it, and thought it was extremely well done. When a children's book can creep out an adult? That is a difficult balancing act and Gaiman succeeded. There are also awesome pictures throughout the book which complement the creepy tone perfectly. Totally recommended if you're a fan of Gaiman and/or creepy stuffs. Recommended to any small children you may know as well (unless they are sensitive to scary stuff. Then it might not be such a good idea.)