- Fizzy Thoughts: Coraline


Friday, November 14, 2008

Neil Gaiman
illustrations by Dave McKean
162 pages

You know, there are plenty of wonderful covers for Coraline. And I got stuck with this one. Ah well, at least the inside is filled with the most marvelous illustrations. For example:

Yes, that's a hand. Don't you just love it?

Okay. So there's this little girl named Coraline who lives with her mom and dad in a flat in an old house. Coraline's mom and dad both work at home, but they pretty much leave Coraline to entertain herself. So Coraline sets off to explore the house. She finds a mysterious door, which opens up to....

...a brick wall. Are you scared yet? No? Well, you should be. Because when Coraline finally gets through that door she discovers this:

Yowza! That's the other-mother. Other-mother lives in Coraline's other-flat, with her other-father. And all she wants is to for Coraline to love her. And really, what's not to love about a face like that? She's like what Joan Rivers could become if she's not careful.

Anyhoosie, back to Coraline. When other-mother becomes a bit possessive, Coraline must find a way to get back to her real life. Despite the temptation of cool clothes and tasty food, Coraline decides she doesn't really want to be in this alternate universe with button eyes and above for a mother.

At 162 pages, there isn't a whole lot to this book. And yet, there's also a whole lot to this book. Besides the adventure, and the spookiness, and the temptation to scream "don't go through the door!" and the rats (oh, have I not mentioned them?) and the beetles (and all I have to say about that is, ewwwww), there's also a moral (something along the lines of the grass isn't always greener, or perhaps parents don't have to be good cooks to love their children).

Neil Gaiman has said that this is the book he is proudest of. Yes, he really said that...if you don't believe me, read this. And then read this, because it's funny. My favorite is when he says he wouldn't want to meet the other-mother in real-life, because "it was bad enough on paper."

So go. Buy. Read. After all, it's only 162 pages. What have you got to lose? Besides a little sleep...

13 comment(s):

bermudaonion said...

I don't usually like scary books, but that one intrigues me; maybe it's the illustrations.

bookbliss said...

Aw man, I should have read this one for the RIP challenge instead of I Am Legend.

Ti said...

Coraline is coming out as a movie too. I love the animation. Sort of reminds me of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Here's a link to the site:


Ti said...

Here's a better link:


Dar said...

Great review Jill. I put this on my Christmas wishlist-hoping I get it! I love the hand-is that not one of the coolest pics yet!

Chris said...

Well this has to be the most fun review of this book that I've read yet. I love Coraline too. I have the same cover as you...as well as 3 other covers :p I'm a bit of a Gaiman completionist. I even forked out $60 for the Subterranean Press version :p But it's signed by Gaiman and has extra McKean drawings in it! Can't wait for the movie!!

Lisa said...

I picked this one up at the library a few weeks ago, I should try to get to it soon.

Yan said...

I'm going to follow your commands and read this book!

Book Zombie (Joanne) said...

The illustrations are so amazing in Coraline. Such a great and creepy book, those button eyes totally freaked me out :)

Fyrefly said...

I listened to this in audiobook form, so this is the first time I've seen the illustrations - yikes! Majorly creepy!

Ladytink_534 said...

I want to read this one so bad! I keep pushing it back on my list but I will get to it someday... preferrably before the movie comes out!

Very, very creepy illustrations. Looks like something straight out of Tim Burton's mind.

Beth F said...

Try this one on audio -- it adds a nice dimension, but you miss the great illustrations.

Jessica said...

I loved the creepiness of "the others" in this one. It's probably my favorite Gaiman to date.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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