Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house.
I am fully aware that getting to the ripe old age of 23 and only just discovering the wonder of Neil Gaiman would be considered, by some, as utter sacrilege*. However the fact of the matter is that I did let that situation happen and, as I can’t go back and change it now, there was nothing more to but press on and read Coraline!
*(I have watched the film Stardust many times though, so I wouldn’t consider myself totally devoid of NG – small victory on my part).
I chose Coraline to be my first foray into the world of Neil Gaiman a) because I had heard nothing but praise of it and b) because at 192 pages, I didn’t think it would be much of a time investment if it ended out that NG wasn’t for me…
Turns out he is and I absolutely LOVED it!
A quick read but one that will stay with you forever, Coraline is about a girl who can no longer resist the power of an locked door and finds herself in a parallel ‘home’ where the food may taste better but there’s something not quite right about the ‘other mother’…
Concepts of twisted innocence, dark whimsy, and parallel worlds are all explored in this ‘unhinged fairy tale’. There is effortless humour and wonderful gothicisms woven throughout the narrative and Gaiman creates the best protagonist in Coraline Jones to travel through this surrealist world with. She’s resourceful, gutsy and intelligent, defying the adults and adventuring to your hearts delight – definitely a female protagonist I can get on board with!
Now you can’t possibly get through a reading of Coraline without commenting on the illustrations and in my version they were offered up by the amazing Dave McKean. The avant-garde images brilliantly mirror the twisted parallel world, adding visuals full of dark gothicisms that perfectly enhance the eeriness of Gaiman’s words.
I think anyone reading Neil Gaiman for the first time will be struck with just how beautifully simple and striking his writing style is. Quirkiness abouding, Gaiman is a total magician when it comes to using straightforward language as a way of painting an unbelievably vivid picture and Coraline is a fantastic example of a story that has the power to grasp an audience and whisk you away for the, slightly twisted, journey.