Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats
Thursday, March 24, 2011
"Coraline" by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman is sick and twisted and I love it.
I've wanted to read this book ever since I watched the flippin' WEIRD Tim Burton-esque movie with my kids. I finally ordered a copy of the book last week. Bookworm Child read it as soon as it arrived, and since it passed her test (and wasn't about rainbows and unicorns) I thought it might be pretty good.
Coraline Jones is the only child of less-than-doting parents. Her mom and dad love her, but they're always so busy that they mostly just ignore her. In fact, no one around Coraline pays her much attention. Her neighbors can't even get her name right, no matter how many times she corrects them.
Left to her own devices, Coraline spends most of the damp and dreary summer exploring in and around the old house they've moved into. Her neighbors are a bit strange, but they're nothing compared to what Coraline finds at the end of a cold and musty hallway: her Other Mother, who wants Coraline to stay with her forever, if only she can sew big shiny black buttons in place of Coraline's eyes.
Just like the other Gaiman book I read, this one is brimful of bizarre atmosphere. I mean, it didn't creep me out or give my seven-year-old nightmares, but some weird stuff goes on, and it's great. The story is very short and simply told--Gaiman could have gone into much more detail and not lost my approval--but the way it's written is perfect for kids. Some kids, anyway. You may want to check it out first, depending on your own child's sensitivity to weirdness.
It's funny--I got the exact same thing from my husband and my son: "Why are you reading that book? We have the movie." Well, you know how it is. Sometimes you're just curious about the source. Or sometimes you'd just prefer to read. Bookworm Child resolutely decided that the book was better than the movie. Either way, it's a fun and unique story. But, having experienced both renderings, I can affirm they've done an excellent job with the movie. They retained the perfect mood, didn't leave out any good bits, and really added to the story with the stunning visuals.
One of these days I'll get around to reading one of Gaiman's books for grown-ups. Which one should I start with?