Saturday, October 25, 2014

{Book Review/Movie Adaptation Comparison} Coraline: Neil Gaiman

Rating: 79%
Series: Standalone
Genre: Middle Grade, Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Horror,
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: August 4, 2002
Page Count: 162
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: Coraline's often wondered what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her "other" parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.

Gaiman has delivered a wonderfully chilling novel, subtle yet intense on many levels. The line between pleasant and horrible is often blurred until what's what becomes suddenly clear, and like Coraline, we resist leaving this strange world until we're hooked. Unnerving drawings also cast a dark shadow over the book's eerie atmosphere, which is only heightened by simple, hair-raising text. Coraline is otherworldly storytelling at its best.

Would I Buy It?
None of the book covers give me the urge to die unless I got the book in gorgeous, hardcover form. While scrolling through the various covers, none stood out particularly to me, so much so that I didn't even insert a book cover (found it off of google images). This story deserves something spine-chilling and striking, something to depict the darkness in this seemingly innocent Middle Grade novel. Basically something that I would be terrified to have on my shelves and would deter every little prospective 10 year-old out there.

Background & Backstory
Grab a seat. This backstory could take a while. My memory is horrible, I don't remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, let alone movies/books from the Summer of 2010. Yet, the cartoon version of Coraline (made by Tim Burton) defied the clutches of forgetfulness, and to this day, I still remember a TON of main plot points, characterization, and absolute terror I felt.

That alone should tell you something. When I was little, I liked terrifying myself, which means that I watched Coraline nearly every chance I got. I expected myself to get less afraid because of the repetition, but that didn't happen. I would climb into my mom's bed because I was so scared after watching this movie.

Fast-Forward more than four years and I STILL like giving myself goosebumps. AT this moment, I am the sole patron of every YA novel in my local libraries that hadn't already been checked out. Of course, a book that took primary real estate on that was Coraline.I had had the opportunity to read this book around two years ago, but the memories of the movie still haunted me, and I hadn't dared.  

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?
I'm glad I read that.

Middle Gradenesss: Over the past six months, I have developed a rather unsavory (what the heck does that mean?) prejudice for Middle Grade. I hate those feelings, especially when I get so defensive about everyone being able to read YA. Coraline was a classic Middle Grade book, but I was okay with that. Aspects of the novel could be considered somewhat juvenile, but when Neil Gaiman is the author.... you can easily look past the fact.

Spookiness: I'm not sure if the book wasn't as creepy because I knew what would happen, but the book DEFINITELY did not creep me out and make me want to sleep with the lights on. This might be because Neil Gaiman didn't want to scare off his target audience? Despite me not feeling creeped out,      I believe the reason I was so scared when I was little was because of how expertly the movie was adapted. This is also not to say the adaptation was unfaithful (there was some word-for-word dialogue), it was just the WAY it was adapted that made the movie so terrifying versus the book.

Premise: Something about a book that will immediately draw me in is the premise and proper of execution of it. And let me tell you, Neil Gaiman follows up with it BE-YOU-TI-FULLY. I never once felt like I was promised something and not delivered (a feeling uncannily common with adaptations as well as movies in general). Just the concept of parallel universes is one I have always been intrigued with (*hint hint* NaNoWriMo novel), and the way Gaiman twists it so artfully, making it that the evil "Other Mother" would suck Coraline's soul *shivers get sent down spine* with those godawful button eyes which were petrifying in the movie.

Concise: Coraline was my VERY first Neil Gaiman book ever. Since then, I have read (and flipped out over how much I loved) The Ocean at the End of the Lane and am currently reading The Graveyard Book. And I might (just might *winks*) have put every Neil Gaiman book on hold at my local library. Something I commend Gaiman for with the highest respect is with how many few words he can develop the richest, most detailed, most abstract stories I have ever read. I never once felt like the novel was incomplete or that I wanted more (of the novel, not his writing). There was a distinct and satisfying beginning, middle, and end. And the book was only 162 pages. Beat that! 

How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Book?
Because of its lack of length, I am considering making Coraline an annual re-read accompanied by watching the movie. So (for once) it is very likely I will be re-reading this book.

Conclusion: Spooky, Eery, Conceptual with a terrifying premise. Perfect for Halloween time and sleeping with the lights on.

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