Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Written by Neil Gaiman

I will admit that my familiarity with the horror genres of any given medium, be that books, movies, or comics, could only be charitably described as "passing." I'm not what you'd call a frequent patron. But I do enjoy Neil Gaiman, possibly even love, and so I finally got around to reading Coraline. I didn't avoid it because I thought it would be scary- keep in mind that, up until recently, I rarely cracked more than five books in a year, including assigned readings-, but I will say if I'd read this when I was Coraline's age, it would have terrified me.

Even now, at twenty, it's creepy. There are no cheap scares here. We never find out what Coraline's other mother, the mother through the door, the one with the button eyes (how effective and creepy is that minor detail), really is, we just know it's scary. We never really find out what's going on through the opposite side of the door, but we know we never want to go there. Fear of the unknown is always more powerful, and, while everyone knows that, everyone doesn't have the ability to use that knowledge. That, or, based on the evidence provided by movies such as Jeepers Creepers, everyone won't put in the effort.

To point, this is a magical book. It started a bit slow, which is odd, since it was thrown into the meat of the story within the first twenty pages. One of the advantages of Young Adult fiction is it doesn't waste time. But, still, it was slow. I think Gaiman did that on purpose, though, to get us empathising with Coraline's dull existance. It's what makes the button-eyed freaks on the opposite side of that door so appealing at first; they're colourful, they have circuses and rats, etc. But everyone has a downside, and other mom just happens to have a fondness for, well, being singularly evil. I won't go into more detail, but this is a treasure of a book, and one I can't wait to start terrifying my children with.

You know, as soon as I have some.

Grade: A


Joe said...

I desperately want a creepy book, but nothing can ever do it. It's horrible. Horror is the one of the few genre fiction markets I have no reservations about sticking my head into, but so far I've got bupkis. Clive Barker was hands down one of the most disappointing reading experiences ever. Ira Levin however, was rewarding. Somehow I don't think Coraline would do too much for me. I might still check it out when I've cleared out some more books, and some more Gaiman.

CC44 said...

Considering it took me about two hours to read, I wouldn't be afraid to pick it up as a pallet cleanser, even.