Coraline is the first book I read by Neil Gaiman. I have heard a lot about him and his books but never got round to reading anything by him. But I happened to read somewhere that his story, Coraline, features a cat and I lapped up on the opportunity to read it since I had seen the copy in the college library.
Coraline begins with the eponymous protagonist having moved into an old house along with her parents. The house also has a few strange neighbours who have equally strange names: Miss Spink and Miss Forcible being two examples. Another is an old man who is currently training rats to perform their own circus!
Despite such peculiar neighbours, Coraline feels easily bored with her surroundings and being summer vacation, she does not have much to do except chatting with her parents (who are busy with their own jobs) or neighbours or exploring the old house which is quite huge and even has an overgrown garden. But this alone does not quench her boredom.
One day, she discovers a door that leads into a brick wall. However, later when she opens it on the sly without her mother’s permission, the brick wall vanishes! Her curiosity gets the better of her and she enters that darkness.
While traversing that darkness she sees the cat that she had seen before around her house and now magically the cat can talk. Though it acts haughty and cold, the cat becomes a dear friend who accompanies her thereafter.
What could possibly be behind that veil of darkness? What adventures does it hold? Or dangers? Will our protagonist discover a never ending mystery that will put an end to her boredom once and for all?
Would you even believe it if I mentioned it here?
Needless to say, Coraline presents quite an odd and at times scary adventure that Coraline (and not Caroline, please note!) takes you to a parallel world where she meets parallel parents who are nothing like her real parents and who threaten to hold her there forever, enticing her with endless interesting things to immerse herself in.
Will Coraline give in? Or will she fight to get back to her real world? Will she be trapped there? Will her need to quench her boredom overcome her love for her true parents?
Read and find out!
So why should you read the book?
For one, it is a children’s book with a girl as a protagonist who goes on a mysterious and hair raising adventure that brings forth her love for her life and her parents.
If you loved Alice in Wonderland with its strange and eerie twists and characters (Cheshire Cat’s grin alone can still creep me out!), Coraline takes it a notch further and brings to you a brave girl who gets sucked deeper and deeper into the darkness and frightening situations that make the novel utterly creepy.
Though Halloween has just gone by, if you still want to keep the fright nights alive, Coraline is the perfect book for it. It is short (less than 200 pages!) and can be read in one sitting, preferably at night for all the right chills!