Bunnybean took Coraline out of the library a few weeks ago and started to read it…we thought maybe we would read it at the same time and then present a Cannonball Point-Counterpoint type of review. And then about two chapters in she started to get scared. And she put the book down and happily took off with Laura Ingalls Wilder, leaving me alone to figure out another Neil Gaiman book.
As previously mentioned, Neil Gaiman and I have had a rough relationship. I loved Neverwhere, and really liked Stardust. I couldn’t finish American Gods, and was lukewarm about The Graveyard Book. But I feel like I’m supposed to love Gaiman’s books, and that if I keep trying, someday I will.
Coraline found me taking steps in the right direction. I enjoyed the story of the bored little girl who finds a dark, alternate version of her world on the other side of a walled-off door in her family’s new apartment. I haven’t seen the movie, but had an easy time picturing the differences between the real characters and the “others”, with their button eyes and pasty, clay-like flesh. The descriptions were simple, and yet incredibly detailed, and there was much to be appreciated. Simple little sections really stuck with me, in particular Coraline remembering her father’s bravery when they were attacked by a swarm of wasps. I loved the realism of that anecdote being remembered while Coraline was in a totally un-real situation in her “other” world.
I totally understand Bunnybean’s reluctance to continue with the story. Even though we found this in the Children’s section of the library, I’m thinking that the intended reader age is probably slightly older than 7. When I asked her what scared her, it wasn’t the dark hallways, the scary noises, or the unknown world that Coraline was facing, it was the button eyes. She was petrified of the button eyes.