This weekend I read my first book for Banned Books Month. Here is my review for Coraline by Neil Gaiman.
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 all 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 and Other Stories is a journey into the the dark, magical world of Neil Gaiman.
I first heard of Coraline when the movie was released I was excited to find out that the movie was based on the book by the same name. I never ended up seeing the movie, but the book made it to my to-read list. I have picked it up several times in the bookstore, but never ended up purchasing it. I was inspired to finally make the purchase when I found out it was a challenged book.
This story is geared towards a much younger audience–ages 8 and up–than the books I usually read. I was concerned this would make the story feel childish, but this was not the case. Gaiman created a suspenseful tale that I enjoyed very much. He depicted a rich world that I felt like I was traveling in. The quirkiness of the characters added to the story instead of serving as a distraction. Everything worked well together to create a book I didn’t want to put down.
This book has been challenged due to questions of its “age appropriateness.” It appears that parents have found the book “scary for younger children.” I know as a 20-something I found parts of this book to be on the scary side. I can see how someone twenty years younger than me would be scared by these passages. However, these bits of the book only added to the suspense. Any fear I experienced was for Coraline, and not for myself. Anything that was scary was written to advance the plot, and not for the sole purpose of scaring someone. The end result is a great tale that I would love to share with my child someday.
Review: I am glad that I finally found the time to read this story. It was a riveting book that I didn’t want to put down. A great book for children and those just young at heart. I can’t wait to read more of Gaiman’s work!