Monday, August 5, 2013

{Review} Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Published by HarperCollins, 2002
Softcover, 162 pages
ISBN 0439576881
Genres: adventure, children's fiction, fantasy, horror, paranormal, science fiction, YA

2/5: The movie Coraline has been a favorite of ours ever since it was in theaters. The Mr took me, pregnant at the time with Gabriel, to see it on Valentine's Day and it was great fun. Now the wee one loves it as well for its "spookiness", as he says, and awesomely quirky characters. It has just the right proportions of action, drama, dialogue and story progression, and the animation! Absolutely stunning and so very interesting you can't tear your eyes away. Needless to say, Gabriel and I were very excited to pick up a copy of Coraline at our favorite used bookstore and start reading it as soon as we finished Dahl's The Witches. We would have been disappointed anyway, but right on the heels of a hilarious and imaginative Roald Dahl book? With Quentin Blake illustrations?? I'm not sure it's possible to have moved on to a more anticlimactic selection than Gaiman's Coraline. It plods along, as flat and colorless as the Other Mother's misty landscape, with an awkward storyline in which developments feel haphazard, superficially planned, and make little sense. The characters promise a lot but, once again, lack any real uniqueness with which to interest the reader, much less charm or entertain. Coraline is well written, and therefore mechanically a very good piece. However, that cannot whatsoever make up for the tepid nature of the content. Gabriel and I were very glad to finish this book and return to the marvelous Dahl and Blake. While it wasn't a terrible reading experience, I can't recommend Coraline very highly. This is, in fact, a rare time I would suggest simply enjoying the movie.

Mary Beth

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