[Review] Coraline - Neil Gaiman

Title of Book: Coraline
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
Publisher: Bloomsburry Publishing PLC
Publication Year: 2012
Language: English
Format: Hardback
Pages: 208

There is something strange about Coraline's new home. It's not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbors, read in the tea leaves. It's the other house - the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. For ever. She knows that if she ventures through that door, she may never come back.

Coraline has just moved into a new home. There, she lives with other families. When she went exploring the house, she found a door that supposedly led to nowhere; Until she tried to open it with a big black key that her mother showed her. Behind the door, she found an interesting discovery. There’s a replica of her house with a slight odd twist. The house replica is where Coraline’s other parents live. Her other parents is the replica of her real parents, except they have black button as their eyes. 

The edition that I read in is the 10th anniversary edition with illustrations from Chris Riddell and introduction from Neil Gaiman. The illustrations are placed at the beginning of each chapter. They depict a specific scene from the chapter. I love Riddell’s illustration. It has the right amount of creepy which complements the story. I could totally see a full graphic novel version of this book using his drawings.

Coraline is quite atmospheric. It is peculiar and creepy, which I don’t know why reminds me of Tim Burton (although I know the movie adaptation is not directed by him). I also don’t know if that is actually how Neil Gaiman writes since this is the first time I read his book. In the introduction, Gaiman wrote a bit about how Coraline came alive and how Coraline is about being scared but doing it anyway. He wrote it for his children, which is sweet. I like that it’s about trying to be brave. We face it most of the time, when we experience something new. It’s scary, but we’re going to do it anyway because that’s how we grow. It’s okay to be scared sometimes, but don’t let it hold you back.

Overall I enjoyed reading Coraline. Although it’s horror, it’s definitely suitable for children. It also teaches valuable lesson that people often forget about. I’m told that this book is ‘mild’ or less strange compared to other Gaiman’s books. I’m looking forward to reading his other books.

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