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!
Ever since signing up for Banned Books Month, I have been trying to decided which books to read. While I decided fairly quickly to read four books to celebrate the cause–one a week–it has been harder for me to select which four to read. Thanks to links from Steph Su Reads, I’ve been able to find great resources to find banned & challenged books.
The first thing I noticed when browsing the lists is how many of these books I had already read. For example both Looking For Alaska by John Green and The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson have been banned or challenged. I was not surprised to find the Harry Potter series on the list of top 100 challenged books of the decade. The number of banned or challenged books I had previously read as required reading was unexpected. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous–which I read in middle school English–was listed. Also on the list was The Color Purple by Alice Walker, which I read in AP English my senior year of High School. After seeing so many books that I had read, I began to worry that I would have trouble finding new ones to enjoy.
Eventually I began to find some possibilities that would make interesting blogs for Banned Books Month . I was excited when I noticed Coraline by Neil Gaiman was listed as challenged. This book has been sitting on my “to-read” list for months, waiting for me to purchase it. This challenge would be a great opportunity for me to finally read it.
Boy Meets Boy The second book I added to my list is Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. While I have read and enjoyed several of the books he has co-written–most recently Will Grayson, Will Grayson–I have yet to read any of his solo efforts. Reading this book for Banned Books month allows me to read a challenged book while checking out some more of his great work.
Laurie Halse Anderson is an author whose books I have frequently seen mentioned on banned or challenged book lists. Many of my friends have talked about how much they have enjoyed her books. I figured this would be a great chance to check out her work while also reading a banned book. I looked up several of her banned or challenged books on goodreads.com in an attempt to help choose which to read. I decided to add Twisted to my to-read list.
I was pretty successful at picking my first three books. Picking a fourth book has not been as easy. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a possibility. Out of all the books I read during my time in school, I somehow missed this classic. I could read it now and cross it off my “to-read” list, while also reading a banned book. I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block is another option. This book caught my eye several times as I read different banned/challenged book lists and inspired me to put it on my list. Another alternative is the ttyl Internet Girls Series by Lauren Myracle. The series caught my attention due to the fact it is among the top 10 challenged books of the past few years.
So while I am pretty solid on three of my choices, I’m still wavering on my fourth. I would love some suggestions of what banned books people think I should check out. I know you guys have some great banned book recommendations for me!
Posted in Musings
Tagged Banned Books Week, books, Boy Meets Boy, Coraline, David Levithan, John Green, Laurie Halse Anderson, Looking For Alaska, maureen johnson, Neil Gaiman, The Bermudez Triangle, Twisted