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Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline (edition 2004)

by Neil Gaiman

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12,565481191 (3.99)649
Quanti di voi da bambini hanno avuto paura del buio? Il buio rappresenta l'ignoto: "La più antica e potente emozione umana è la paura e la paura più antica e potente è la paura dell'ignoto" diceva Lovecraft.
Ricordate la sensazione di smarrimento e terrore provata di fronte ad una porta aperta, magari su un corridoio, che dava su una stanza buia?
Non è difficile provare la stessa sensazione leggendo le dense pagine di Coraline.
Viene etichettato come libro per bambini e non difficilmente lo troverete nello scaffale dedicato alla letteratura per l'infanzia, ma a mio modesto parere questo racconto è pienamente fruibile da un adulto che viene prepotentemente trasportato nuovamente nell'infanzia dalla penna di Gaiman.
Avendolo letto di notte non provo vergogna nel riconoscere di aver fatto i salti nel letto all'accenno del più piccolo rumore. Questa è la magia di Coraline: una prosa asciutta ma evocatrice.
La protagonista del racconto attraversa il corridoio buio e si trova catapultata in una grottesca imitazione del mondo reale, dove tutti hanno dei bottoni al posto degli occhi. Non impiega molto a scoprire l'orrenda verità, eppure come altri protagonisti di Gaiman che si trovano intrappolati in altri mondi (mi vengono in mente Helena del sottovalutato film MirrorMask o il sempre valido Richard Mayhew di Nessun Dove) non si lascia sopraffare dalle circostanze, ma anzi vivendo l'impossibile riesce a sopravvivere e a crescere.
Il tutto è accompagnato dalle grottesche e terrificanti illustrazioni di Dave McKean, spesso socio di Gaiman e insostituibile complemento delle sue narrazioni.
Forse la magia di questo scrittore, più di ogni altra cosa è la capacità di evocare e trasportarci nei mondi da lui creati. ( )
  Zeruhur | May 26, 2012 |
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Feeling neglected by her overworked parents, Coraline is thrilled when she discovers a secret doorway in her home that leads to what appears to be a parallel world, with her "other mother" who happily gives her the attention she has been missing. But Coraline soon learns that not everything is quite as it seems, and her "other mother" might not be quite as wonderful as she appears...

Although clearly written for an older children/young adult audience, Coraline was so delightfully spooky, it even gave me the creeps. It was a fast, fun read with a strong protagonist and a few life lessons learned along the way. It definitely has many elements of the horror genre, and although the storyline is dark, the way Gaiman writes allows the story to be slightly tamer than it would be if written for adults. The handful of illustrations were frightening.

I ended up watching the movie after finishing the book, and definitely found the movie more "kid-friendly" (and less enjoyable) than the book... but certainly worth a watch, if you enjoy the book. ( )
  skrouhan | Mar 2, 2015 |
This spooky story would be a great read for the month of October. The elements of horror are tame enough that they are more exciting than terrifying. I would like to do a character study with students with this book because there are some very eccentric and colorful characters. ( )
  Maggie.Goff | Feb 26, 2015 |
Very good short novel. The imagery is fun and well done. Gainan easily gets his points across, but does so in fun ways and you are rarely ever bored. ( )
  adam.d.woodard | Feb 23, 2015 |
The book is the creepiest children's stories I have ever read.

I watched the film adaptation before I read the book so I kind of knew what to expect. The film was a lot more kid friendly compared to the book! I feel the book is a lot more darker and it reads as a horror. I'm not sure I would read this to a child, especially not to a sensitive child.

I think it speaks more to the adult reader than the child reader, maybe I found it so creepy because as an adult you understand things differently. Maybe for a child, this would be the ultimate story of adventure and survival.

It is a truly good book, and I am vowing to read a lot more of Neil Gaiman's books in future. ( )
  KittyBimble | Feb 12, 2015 |
Delightfully creepy.

It took a few chapters to really grab me, but since I had seen the movie when it first came out in 2009 and had enjoyed that so much, I stuck with it. A very wise choice on my part.

The book rounds Coraline out a lot more than the movie did. The film changed a few things from the book, most notably adding an entirely new character: Wybie.

This is the second book I've read by Gaiman. He is incredibly talented at building suspense and delivering. I was honestly creeped out a few times by the vibe that Gaiman holds steady throughout the book. Also adding to the eeriness are some wonderful illustrations by Dave McKean sprinkled throughout the book.

One of my favorite parts of the book was when Coraline retells the story of when her father sacrificed himself for her by choosing to be stung by several wasps while letting her run ahead so that she would be safe. The story illustrated that her father *did* love her (a fact not necessarily evident in the earlier chapters) and that Coraline understood how much her father loved her. The story ends with a line that perfectly sums up one of the main lessons in the book and one of the better quotes from the book: "When you're scared but you still do it anyway, that's brave."

This book also had some fun, dark humor that I enjoyed. When trying to convince Coraline of her trustworthiness, The Other Mother swears on her mother's grave. Coraline asks if her mother has a grave: "Oh yes," said the other mother. "I put her in there myself. And when I found her trying to crawl out, I put her back."

This was a quick, enjoyable read. Some children may find it too scary, but I know that when I was around 3rd or 4th grade, I would have probably loved this!

Side note: I tried rewatching Coraline after reading the book. I couldn't finish it. I found Coraline's character insufferable after growing to love the book version of her. Perhaps I'll try it again after giving myself some time. ( )
  AlbinoRhino | Feb 11, 2015 |
Dark fantasy novel. Great original story. Fast read, great writing. ( )
  dom76 | Feb 4, 2015 |
Coraline is a delightful creepy horror story for children. Coraline goes through a door in her house into the other house with her other-mother.

What works really well for Gaiman is the kind of subtle plausibility of his horror. The idea of portals and the other world. After all - doesn't any closed door potentially conceal a monster? Gaiman makes strong use of the uncanny, the way the other world is like this world but just that little but different. The things like buttons for eyes (eyes obviously being the window to the soul and the soul being something the other-mother can't reproduce for herself). Very good book. Very creepy. Would love to share this with a child. ( )
  TPauSilver | Jan 22, 2015 |
This is a fairly macabre story, that I expect adults will find as intriguing as young readers. It has everything one might hope for: musical mice, a talking cat and a supernatural mystery with high stakes.

All in all, I liked it. I wish more information was given, but that is limitation of the genre rather than of the story itself. ( )
  librarycatnip | Jan 12, 2015 |
Anything Neil Gaiman writes is good by me. This book was creepy and fabulous. ( )
  AlisonLea | Jan 10, 2015 |
Coraline is hands down the creepiest children’s book I’ve ever read. It’s terrifying and beautiful, and I loved every moment of it. Highly recommended. ( )
  les121 | Dec 31, 2014 |
Just the right amount of scary and suspense, mixed with humor. Coraline finds a door in her new house that leads to a second world, with a second set of her neighbors, and her "other" mother and father. It is fun at first until Coraline realizes things are just a little bit off, and her "other" parents don't want her to leave. Coraline is determined, though, to save herself and the other lost souls stuck in this world.

AR level: 5.1 MG
Lexile: 740 ( )
  liblb | Dec 25, 2014 |
I was very excited to read this book, since I have seen the movie. Neil Gaiman has such a knack for slightly disturbing writing. When Coraline finds her way into the otherworld and meets her "other-mother" and "other-father", she finds they are even better than her current parents, though not all things are like they seem! I believe children who enjoy scary stories would really enjoy this.
  InstantLaila | Dec 8, 2014 |
Gaiman, Neil. Illustrated by Dave McKean. Coraline. 2002. 163 pp. $17.89. Harper Collins. 978-0-0662-3744-2 / 0-06-623744-0. Ages 8-12.
When adventurous Coraline ventures through the mysterious door that leads to the flat besides the one she shares with her busy but loving parents, she discovers a world that is oddly like her own flat. There, she has an other mother and other father who are identical to her own, except for their button eyes. When her other mother fails to convince Coraline to stay with her in her world, she kidnaps Coraline’s parents instead. Coraline must find a way to free the souls of her parents and the other children who have been captured by the primal evil lurking just next door. This modern fairy tale by Gaiman features well-developed characters who buck the traditional fairy tale roles. The story is suspenseful and uniquely unsettling, and the descriptions of the unnamed evil manifest in Coraline’s other mother are borderline terrifying. This is sure to be a favorite for fantasy readers and fans of horror alike. Highly recommended. Ages 8-12. ( )
  alovett | Nov 20, 2014 |
When Coraline finds a door and enters through she finds the other side holds everything she has wanted. Parents that notice her, a full to the brim toy box and great tasting food. However, is what you've always wanted what you really wanted in the first place?
  auntiepants88 | Nov 7, 2014 |
On a dreary day during the school holidays, Coraline must entertain herself indoors since both of her parents are busy. Coraline is curious about a door in the drawing room that doesn't seem to go anywhere … except suddenly it does. Coraline finds herself in a place that looks very much like her house with people who look very much like her parents...until they don't. Coraline's courage will be tested as she tries to find a way back to her real home and to a reunion with her parents.

Coraline's problems will resonate with many elementary aged children. She's lonely and bored, her adult neighbors can't get her name right (they insist on calling her Caroline), and her father insists on cooking from recipes that are never to Coraline's liking. Children may fantasize about what life might be like if their parents indulged all their wishes and didn't spoil all their fun. Gaiman's story may help children to see that such dreams might prove to be nightmares. Think Wizard of Oz with a 21st century twist. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Oct 30, 2014 |
Despite my enormous love for Neil Gaiman, I could not finish reading this book.
Maybe one day. Maybe not. ( )
  NatalieAsIs | Oct 23, 2014 |
  mshampson | Oct 15, 2014 |
“Coraline” is one of my favorite chapter books, written by one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman. I feel very strongly about this story for two main reasons. First of all, the plot itself is just terrifyingly delightful; the first time I read this story, I had a hard time falling asleep, but I loved how it scared me. Even without it being a movie, I could see this fantasy world so clearly in my head, and the images stuck with me for years and years. Second, I enjoyed the illustrations that began each chapter. Drawn just in black and white, the pictures helped me to see how the author viewed his characters. Several times, they were very symbolic, like the picture of Coraline’s shadow being a menacing rat.
The central message of this story is to truly be careful what you wish for, and to appreciate the family you have. Every family has faults, but you should learn to love the one you have, because the alternative is not always pretty. ( )
  ElizabethHaaser | Sep 29, 2014 |
Excellent! This is a great book, the perfect mix of childlike fun and a dash of spookiness. Very well-written, fast-paced, and fun to read. ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
I'm sorry, I really wanted to like this but the language used was so simple, the kind you were criticised for using when doing creative writing as a child, that my attention (even after taking breaks) kept wandering and only came back when I heard "Other Mother" or "cat".

Some of this may be down to the narrator who was hit and miss, mostly hit but Dawn French's voice was a little too calm and relaxing that I found I was just listening to her tone of voice instead of concentrating on the actual words. She'd make good money as a hypnotist.

There are definitely some very good ideas and fantastic imagery but I'm beginning to believe all of Gaiman's work should be turned into movies for me to watch instead of reading them because I think I'd enjoy them so much more, just like I did with Stardust. I'll definitely be looking to watch Coraline some time soon. ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
This is a fairly macabre story, that I expect adults will find as intriguing as young readers. It has everything one might hope for: musical mice, a talking cat and a supernatural mystery with high stakes.

All in all, I liked it. I wish more information was given, but that is limitation of the genre rather than of the story itself. ( )
  raselyem7 | Aug 30, 2014 |
This was a weird little book. I can do weird, being a fantasy fan and all but this one is one that didn't make it in my awesome or wonderful weird. Perhaps it was too juvenile – meant for a much younger audience than me – for me to make it into either of those categories. It is a very quick read however and it’s a fantasy classic. I think they even made a movie based off it. It was one of those books that I’m glad I can check off the list and now know the story that is referenced in many contexts, but I doubt I will ever pick up again or reread. ( )
  Kassilem | Aug 27, 2014 |
An OK book. It wasn't anything too extraordinary. Just a quick, easy book that told, in a way, a modern and somewhat darker version of Alice in Wonderland. ( )
  aryadeschain | Aug 26, 2014 |
When Coraline Jones is home alone one day, she opens a mysterious door in the drawing room. Beyond, she finds a dark corridor that leads her to another house – just like hers, but better. There, she finds another mother and another father. They say they want to take care of her, to make her life interesting. There’s only one catch. They want Coraline to remain with them forever.
Soon, the other mother captures Coraline’s real parents, and she must find a way to free them if she’s ever to return to her ordinary life.

Coraline is the type of book that’s perfect for a rainy day or when you want something subtly spooky. It reads like a modern fable, populated with archetypes that are somehow never flat. Coraline herself is such a refreshing heroine. She’s quiet – so a little ignored – clever, brave, and so intuitive. The other mother is an interesting, frightening antagonist whose obsession with keeping Coraline forever saturates the story with an understated but constant dread. Secondary characters like Miss Spink, Miss Forcible, Mr. Bobo, and the black cat – though somewhat one-note – are colorful, fun and witty respectively, and give the story a well-calibrated sense of whimsy.

The plot, which explores themes of self, bravery, and want versus need, is intriguing, multi-layered, and never condescending. It also contains aspects of ambiguity (the other mother’s origins, for example) that serve to heighten the book’s other elements. Gaiman’s writing is spartan and allows the story to speak for itself, bolstering each episode’s emotion impact.

Dave McKean’s shadowy illustrations increase the creepy-factor exponentially, assisting the reader in conjuring up even scarier mental images.

Many portions of this book may actually be too frightening for the target audience.

Coraline merits instant classic status. Delightfully spooky and entrancing, it’s a contemporary fairytale with an abundance of heart.

Rating: (9.5/10) ( )
  readernoir | Jul 22, 2014 |
It was a quick read. I did see the movie before I read the book, but it was different. It was eerie, but still very well written. I'm a bit hesitant to read Neil Gaiman's adult novels, but only because I didn't find any synopsis i liked on books I've skimmed. Anyway, he's been well received by other people I've talked to. ( )
  aliterarylion | Jul 14, 2014 |
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