"it is always easier to be afraid of something you cannot see"
Though I am almost always excited to write book reviews, I am particularly excited to write today's book review on Neil Gaiman's Coraline because it is a good contender for one of my all-time favorite books (you can find a list of my current all-time favorites here).
I haven't explored the children's section of a bookstore in depth in quite some time and when I did so recently, I was overwhelmed with childhood memories of being taken to Borders every weekend and getting a book as a treat from my mom. I almost forgot how magical and creative children's books can be and I knew I had to pick one up. And as you can guess, I picked up Coraline.
I should probably mention that I have seen the film several times before purchasing this book and adore it. However, as a reader, I consider myself fairly good at blocking out assumptions/hype/preconceived notions when reading. It's part of why reading is such a calming experience for me. I am easily able to start from a clean slate and paint the pictures the words create for me. So when starting Coraline I wasn't the least bit worried that the film would cloud my judgement. And as I stated at the beginning of this post, I won't include any spoilers from either the book or the movie adaptation in case those of you reading are unfamiliar with both.
|(photographed: Neil Gaiman's Coraline)|
"When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous.
But there's another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.
Coraline will have to fight with all her wits and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life."
As I was reading Coraline, I couldn't help but notice how different it was to experience the novel compared to that of watching the film. When I watched the film I reveled in how creepy and delightfully original the story was. But as I read the book, I found myself more drawn to Coraline's character. I was drawn to her relationship with her mother and father and with being alone. I was drawn to the contrast between Coraline's life and those of her neighbors. I felt like the novel addressed certain aspects that the film can gloss over or play off as just being quirky.
There was one line that went: "you're just a thing she made and then threw away." Lines such as these contained such a resounding sense of abandonment and loneliness that struck a chord with me.
Coraline is a book that I wish that I had when I was little. It teaches the meaning behind bravery and courage. I love the quaint small setting in which the story takes place. As I read, I picture the scenes throughout the story. With Coraline I didn't picture the ones in the film, but a new set of scenes, which lead me to believe that Coraline could make a successful live-action film as well. However, there is a childlike feeling to the animated version that correlates to the books target age group that I think a live-action film wouldn't have.
I truly adore this book and think that if I were to reread it in a few months and still loved it just as much, it will definitely be one of my all-time favorites.
"I don't want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted just like that, and it didn't mean anything? What then?"