Book Review

Coraline & Other Short Stories – Neil Gaiman

book-review-spoiler-free

23rd March to 28th March ~ Physical ~ Link to Goodreads

Coraline and Other Stories

Synopsis:

When Coraline explores her new home, she steps through a door and into another house just like her own – except that things aren’t quite as they seem. There’s another mother and another father in this house and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. Coraline must use all of her wits and every ounce of courage in order to save herself and return home … but will she escape and will life ever be the same again?
Elsewhere in this collection, a sinister jack-in-the-box haunts the lives of the children who ever owned it, a stray cat does nightly battle to protect his adopted family, and a boy raised in a graveyard confronts the much more troubled world of the living. From the scary to the whimsical, the fantastical to the humorous, Coraline & Other Stories is a journey into the dark, magical world of Neil Gaiman.
All other stories in this collection beside Coraline were originally published as M is for Magic.

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Review:

I was really happy to unwrap this one even though I’d tried it before and put it down I was sure this time round I’d enjoy it a lot more and I did! I was starting to get into a bit of a slump and, for me, there is nothing like Gaiman book to pull me out!

Like I said above I had actually tried this one before but I couldn’t wrap my head around it enough at that time. I think you have to be in the right kind of place to take on a Gaiman book, you have to suspend your belief a lot and you have to be prepared for anything to happen so back then I think I was just wanting something light and fluffy.

I think I’d had this unfair opinion that because this is aimed at children I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it (being 26). This probably sounds like a really daft comment to make because books can be and should be enjoyed by people of all ages without limits but if I’m being honest in the past I haven’t had the best experience with books aimed at middle grade and lower. 

As with any other Gaiman book this was written so beautifully. His style seems to be very dream like and very much like a darker, more eerie modern day fairy tale in some cases (including this one). The characters he creates, how he describes a scene and the wit he puts into speech and internal monologues are brilliant. It’s like someone is taking my hand and walking me through scene to scene with a Gaiman book because they always feel like the kind of stories you could make up with a friend at a sleep over.

2

This story in the collection had the best crafted plot I have read in quite a while. It is so creepy but in an incredibly fascinating way you can’t help but want to know what is going to happen next and in his books anything is possible. I do feel like it had maybe 1 or 2 too many twists but at least I can’t say I was bored! It kept me entertained from the first line to the last. In the edition I was reading at the start of each chapter was an illustration and I think these made a great little addition to the book. The illustrations also seemed really spot on for what I was imagining in my mind while reading so he was clearly doing a brilliant job with his descriptions!

Coraline herself was a great character to follow. A little quirky and incredibly brave she seemed to face everything with a very endearing rational way of thinking which is so refreshing for a children’s book! I think a lot of kids I know would like Coraline and even though this could be a little scary for some children I think most 8 years old and above would be fine reading it by themselves.

My favourite quote from Coraline was a very simple one:

“There’s a but isn’t there?” Said Coraline “I can feel it like a rain cloud.”

This quote doesn’t even need any context it captures beautifully the feeling of being a child and knowing that you had just been given some good news that was going to be followed by a bit of bad! It’s such a simple line but it really struck a chord with me 🙂

I must admit that I was a little disappointed with the other short stories though. They were interesting, well written and perfectly fine but I had read them in another of his short story collections and I was expecting something new.

My favourite short story of the remainder of the collection was definitely “The Case of Four and Twenty Black Birds.” Only 10 pages long but incredibly clever! This is a murder mystery that mixes characters and themes from some of the most famous nursery rhymes. There was a quote within this story too that I liked:

“But you don’t want to hear my troubles. If you’re not dead yet, you’ve got troubles of your own”

Again this isn’t the most ground breaking, profound quote I have ever read but I find it’s the simpler lines such as this that I adore the most.

Overall: All together this is a brilliant children’s novel that can be and will be enjoyed for years to come by people of all ages. I wasn’t as blown away by the additional short stories but this is probably because I’d read them before. It’s got me really wanting to watch the film version of Coraline now so I’m hoping I can find a copy this weekend for our usual Saturday movie night 🙂

3

Representation:

I don’t think there was any diversity in any of these stories. As much as I adore Neil Gaiman I do feel like he doesn’t tend to incorporate many diverse characters or themes in his books.

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Have you read Coraline?

Would you say the film is worth a watch?

Link your reviews for Coraline in the comments below for me to check out.

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Twitter thread of reading experience Here

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3 thoughts on “Coraline & Other Short Stories – Neil Gaiman

  1. I’m so happy you gave Coraline another go! I read it during Halloween time, and LOVED it! I am not one for scary stories, as I am a big wuss, but I felt like this was just the right amount of scary. It definitely gave me a very unsettled feeling.

    I’m sorry the remaining short stories came up a little short. I just recently tried my first collection of short stories and ended up putting it aside… I am not sure short stories are for me.

    Like

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