Apr 23, 2012


by Neil Gaiman
adapted by P. Craig Russell

Coraline is a spooky little fantasy story about a girl who moves into a big old house with her parents, in the middle of a rambling garden. Bored, she starts exploring her flat, meeting two old ladies and an eccentric man who live in the basement and attic flats, respectively. Then she finds a door that leads into an alternate universe, where she has an alternate set of parents. This other-mother treats her kindly, cooks her favorite foods, but she is also controlling, sadistic, and has frightful buttons instead of real eyes. As Coraline explores this new world, she starts to learn some unsettling truths about the other-mother's true intentions. She not only has to trick the other-mother into letting her go, but also free several child-spirits the other-mother has trapped, and find her parents which have gone missing. The other-mother proves to be terribly clever and difficult to thwart, but Coraline has the help of a nameless black cat who moves freely between this world and the real one.

 In this case, I saw the film adaptation but haven't read the original book. I really enjoyed reading this version. At first glance I thought the faces, drawn in a realistic style, looked too stiff, but up close they're actually very animated. The other-mother's face was decidedly creepy. I was surprised to see how many differences there were between the movie version and this. For one, there's no little boy to be Coraline's friend (but I think that's where the movie deviates from the book by itself). The garden played a far less important part, which disappointed me a little- I was looking forward to some fantastic illustrations of plants! Also I don't recall the part where Coraline goes into the cellar, nor the final bit where she must get rid of the other-mother's hand. I may have just forgotten some things, though. There were other scenes that were new to me, which I liked, and some that weren't very long, like the burlesque show, I recall being move developed in the movie.

I loved the cat. His expressions, demeanor and the way he was drawn were just perfect.

black king kong shrimpating: 4/5 ........ 186 pages, 2008

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bermudaonion said...

Is that a graphic novel? I'd be up for that since I loved the book and the movie.

Jeane said...

Yes, it's a graphic novel. I really liked it!

Biblibio said...

The graphic novel is quite nice and a very good adaptation, but the writing in the original book is splendid - I highly recommend reading it when you get the chance!

Jenny said...

I have yet to complete the Coraline trifecta -- I've read the book and seen the movie but haven't read the graphic novel yet. I definitely want to though! It sounds amazing and P. Craig Russell is a wondrous illustrator.

Jeane said...

Biblibio- I've read a few Neil Gaiman books and his writing just didn't quite work for me. So I thought I'd like a visual telling of his story better. I'm sure I'm missing something, though!

Jenny- Agreed. I liked the illustrations so much I've just got another pile of graphic novels from the library, most illustrated by him!

Bookfool said...

I didn't care for Coraline, but the bit about the cat being drawn perfectly makes me wish I'd read the graphic novel, instead! Same here - not a big fan of Gaiman. I did love Stardust, but pretty much everything else I've read by him has fallen flat. I'm apparently not the best audience for that particular author.