Monday, March 30, 2009


Title: Coraline
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Juvenile, Fantasy
Date Finished: 20 January 2009
My Rating: 3 Stars
Challenges: Library, New Author, 100+, Dewey's Books

I read this book as part of the Dewey's Books Challenge. I liked this quote from Dewey's review discussing the then not yet released movie. "If this book has been made into a movie, and if you’ve seen the movie, compare the book to the movie. It is being made into a movie. I feel skeptical. I don’t like the promotional poster. I don’t like the idea of Dakota Fanning as Coraline. No, no, no. I want 1988 Winona Ryder as Coraline."
I have not seen the movie yet myself but I agree about Dakota Fanning. You can read Dewey's review of Coraline at The Hidden Side of a Leaf.

It seems Neil Gaiman is the belle of the ball in the literary world right now. I thought it was about time I read one of his books so I would know what all the buzz is about. Since Coraline was about to come out as a movie I decided to go ahead and start there.
Coraline is a sort of horror novel for the tween set. Coraline is bored and none of the adults in her life seem to be listening to her. Looking for something fun to do Coraline ventures through a small door in her house. On the other side she finds a world that is similar yet disturbingly different from her own. She enters into a challenge with her "other mother" in an attempt to save her life, the lives of her parents and three other children.
Maybe it is my general under appreciation of the fantasy genre rearing its head again, but I found this book to just be a little, eh, alright, nothing great. I suppose it could very likely be a scary read for its intended audience but it did not have that effect on me. For me, the story and characters just fell a little flat and I found my attention waning a number of times, which can't be a good thing for a book that is under 200 pages.
I thought it was a fun and creative book and I did like it but did not think it was great.
The book I picked up from the library was a movie tie in edition. There was a section of full color stills from the movie, an excerpt from the screenplay and notes from Neil Gaiman and Henry Selnick, the director, about the route Coraline took from book to stop motion animated movie. I do plan to watch the movie one of these days and wonder if it will be a rare case of enjoying the movie more than the book, despite my general dislike of Dakota Fanning. :-)


Laura H said...

I have a general dislike of Neil Gaiman books. I dont get the hype??

Laurel Ann said...

The movie looks interesting too. Thanks for the great review.

Cheers, Laurel Ann

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I watched the movie and while it was beautiful as far as stop motion animation goes, I have no desire to read the book.

Trish said...

I'm with Laura--I don't get the hype either. I've read about 3 or 4 of his books now and I liked them but didn't find them fantastic. One thing that I do admire is that all of his books are SO different--you might not have liked this one, but you'll get something completely different from his other ones.

Penny (aka Yooperchick) said...

I haven't read this one yet, but I ust finished The Graveyard Book, and thought it was okay, so maybe I'll try this one, too.

Anna said...

I'm reading this with my daughter now. We're stuck at the halfway point. I think it's pretty good, but she wishes it was scarier. :) I saw the movie when it first came out, and it was only okay. The animation was great, but I think the story dragged in parts and it was different from the book.

Diary of an Eccentric

Amy @ Passages to the Past said...

"eh...just okay" seems to be the general feeling from what I've come across. I've really enjoyed the Gaiman books I've read: American Gods, Stardust and Neverwhere.