Coraline (Review)

Book cover for "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman.Title: Coraline

Author/Narrator: Neil Gaiman

Publication Year: 2003

Pages: 208 (audio length: 3 hours 36 minutes)

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

Source: Audiobook version purchased from

From the cover:

“Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house. . . .”

When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous.

But there’s another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life.

Celebrating ten years of Neil Gaiman’s first modern classic for young readers, this edition is enriched with a brand-new foreword from the author, a reader’s guide, and more.

I’m slowly getting to more of Gaiman’s books, having read American Gods and The Graveyard Book before this one. Coraline is the first of Gaiman’s books geared towards children, though, and the one that I found the quickest to read.

I liked the way that Gaiman found a way to make the story a little bit creepy without going too over-the-top for young readers. I found myself just as involved in the narrator’s head as I had been in more complex books, and I wanted everything to work out for Coraline. I enjoyed the secondary characters, particularly the actresses and the cat, and felt that they really added something to the story. The premise of the book was fun.

Having said that, Coraline was not my favourite Gaiman read. Don’t get me wrong – I still liked it, and I want to crawl into Gaiman’s brain sometime and pick out a couple of his ideas. But I felt like perhaps the plot was a bit rushed in certain places; for example, there really isn’t much time spent by Coraline happy in the “other” apartment before it all goes sour. I feel like perhaps the rest of the book might have had more of an impact if she hadn’t been suspicious of the “other” parents quite so quickly. And, indeed, I felt the same way about the speed with which she solved the challenge* placed upon her by the “other mother”.

Beyond that, though, I found Coraline to be a thoroughly enjoyable book. It’s got that flight of fancy that I’ve found in other Gaiman books, without the darkness that is there in the ones geared to an older audience. And frankly, hearing it narrated by Gaiman himself was a wonderful treat. If, like me, you also missed out on this book in the past, pick it up sometime. You’ll enjoy it.


*I don’t want to give any more detail than that for fear of spoilers.


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