Posted by: Lizzie Ross | April 20, 2010

The other mother

Coraline, Neil Gaiman (2002), HarperTrophy, 194 pp.

I didn’t manage to see the movie version of Gaiman’s book, but I still had a pretty good idea what it was about before deciding to read it. But I had expected neither the gothic humor nor the horrifying troubles that boredom can lead an innocent girl into.

In case you missed any of the ads for the movie, Coraline is an under-appreciated girl who is tempted to leave her real parents to live in a briefly more interesting parallel world, with some creepy “other” parents who are like faint echoes of the real thing, but with buttons for eyes. Who would have thought that buttons (think, Raggedy Ann and Andy) could be so menacing?

Coraline has to rescue some prisoners, and does so with chutzpah and something my 1960s camp counselor called a lucky rock. There are a couple of gruesome moments, and some satisfyingly terrifying ones as well. And the final stalking scene is perfect. Clever Coraline!


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