Reading Backwards

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By Neil GaimanCoraline
Aww, go on- get Coraline on Amazon
Rating: Lovely
Read: July 2005

Coraline was recommended by a friend of mine who is still enamoured with childrens’ fiction, despite being a college sophomore. Because it’s a Neil Gaiman book, I decided to give it a shot.

Coraline (not Caroline, CORAline) is a clever girl of indeterminate age who has a rather normal, dullish, not-always-the-way-she-wishes-it-were life. They’ve just moved into a new house over the summer, so she has yet to make any friends. Her parents both work, and their neighbors are a pair of outdated showgirls and an old man trying to train mice for a circus. Coraline isn’t really unhappy, but she’s certainly not ecstatic.

Then she discovers the other mother behind the door that doesn’t lead anywhere. The other mother showers Coraline with toys and food and adoration, but she has black buttons for eyes and is not truly her mother. Coraline returns home quickly- only to find that her real mother and father have been taken away by the other mother, who wants to keep Coraline for ever and ever.

Neil Gaiman truly is a genius, because he has captured children as they are, and as they should be admired. Coraline is clever, but not wordly. She takes what’s in front of her and, without panicking, looks for a solution. She is a very, very sensible girl. Her logic is irrefutable, and she is, of course, surrounded by adults who do not take her ‘fanciful ideas’ seriously even when danger looms. Not to sound arrogant, but she reminds me of myself. ^^;;

At 176 pages, who have absolutely no excuse not to take this gem on, and neither does your neice or nephew. Although it has some scary ideas, I would say that even children as young as six or seven would enjoy having Coraline read to them (with their REAL mother around to offer comfort, of course).

On the whole, a comforting throwback to, again, what childrens’ fiction SHOULD be.


Written by Shen

August 1, 2005 at 8:30 pm

Posted in contemporary, fantasy, kids

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