Books Reviews


Cover of the book Coraline by Neil Gaiman


There is something strange about Coraline’s new home. It’s not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It’s the other house – the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. For ever. She knows that if she ventures through that door, she may never come back.


I read American Gods by Neil Gaiman when I was experiencing Multiple Sclerosis-related brain fog. Needless to say, I couldn’t fully appreciate it. (I hope to revisit it under better circumstances. I also plan to read Anansi Boys.)

So, when the same friend, who gifted them to me, gave me Coraline, I was not sure if I would like it. I did not read it until now, despite the cover having a cat on it.

Coraline is a disturbing story that is exciting, beautifully written, and well-rounded. It is sinister but also full of humour. It has vivid descriptions and great characters.

  • Coraline is brave, kind, and wise for her age. She is quirky, determined, independent, and stubborn. Because she is also curious, adventurous, and not easily scared, she opens the door on the wall.
  • The cat is touchy, standoffish, superior, and wilful but is a true friend.
  • Her neighbours are zany and interesting and are described from a child’s perspective.
  • The “other mother” and her story are a bit of a mystery. Who or what is she? Why does she do the things she does? This woman is a scary character. She springs many psychological traps.

The book also makes you examine your sense of home. It reminds you that it may not represent a physical space and that it may not always be safe and comfortable.

It tells you that home can be an emotional concept that consists of your relationships with your family and friends. Even when you are upset with your family or friends, there can still be an underlying love, the memories of which can help you overcome the most terrible obstacles.

I enjoyed the illustrations by Chris Riddell. Overall, a good book.

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