Reading for a Lifetime Together

April 5, 2010, 1:54 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Coraline actually scared me more than any book I have ever read. Granted, I first read it when I was 10, but still. Even reading it a second time for RFL gave me chills. The story is about a young girl named Coraline who is unsatisfied with her current life. Her parents don’t seem to care about her, and she has no friends to keep her company. That is, until she stumbles into a mysterious and magical world where everything seems too good to be true. She has another family there that loves her and treats her like a princess. Her neighbors are incredibly and perform magical feats for her. Everything seems to be perfect, until Coraline realizes that her so-called “Other Mother” doesn’t want her to go back to her real family.

The story takes a turn for the worse when Coraline runs into the ghosts of three other children who also succumbed to the temptations of the Other Mother. The ghosts are normal, except for one thing – they are missing their eyes. They let the Other Mother take their eyes and sew on buttons instead, thus trapping them forever in the Other Mother’s world. Eventually, though, the Other Mother tired of them, and now they are left imprisoned and with no savior.

Coraline decides to play the role of heroine and challenges the Other Mother to a game. The stakes are high: if Coraline finds the eyes of the three children, the children and Coraline get to leave unhindered. If Coraline cannot find all three, however, she will let the Other Mother remove her eyes as well. With the help of her mysterious neighbors and a very sardonic cat, Coraline embarks on a game that will either save her or trap her forever.

This book kept me on edge until I turned the last page. The action unfolds very quickly, and it doesn’t take long for the reader to get caught up in the events of the plot. Though the book has a younger protagonist, Gaiman specializes writing darker and more serious stories, thus keeping all readers enthralled. It’s hard not to love Coraline and admire her bravery, while the Other Mother is portrayed with fearsome description. The mystical and adventurous quality of the book further add to the effect. Gaiman doesn’t go over-the-top with his bending of reality, but merely dabbles in fantasy while basing most of the book on realistic grounds, thus enabling everyone to relate to the story.

– Eli Bernstein


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