A quick word about a plucky heroine – “Coraline” by Neil Gaiman
I came to “Coraline” through the movie, which my husband – being a Neil Gaiman geek – took me to see.
[Movie-version Coraline, blue hair and all, might also be my Halloween costume for a party I’m having tonight (!) but that’s a whole different post.]
Horror? No. But definitely a book with terrifying elements.
Gaiman’s original book is a dark fairy tale, centered around the young lady of the title. After her family moves in to a new house, Coraline finds a door in the wall that leads to an alternate version of her house – dominated over by a presence known as the Other Mother. Other Mother loves Coraline, or so she says, but is it really all just a trap?
Assisted by a clever cat and with stops along the way to visit wacky neighbors, “Coraline” bears more than a little resemblance to the Alice in Wonderland story, albeit with more deadly and frightening consequences. (I’m sorry, but the idea of having buttons sewn over my eyeballs makes me want to squirm in my chair.) As she ventures deeper into the Other world on a quest to find her missing parents and to free the souls of three ghostly children, she races against the clock as well as the evil of the Other Mother.
The book is charming, endearing, scary, and definitely points out the idea of being careful what you wish for. Coraline herself is a quirky and delightful heroine, and one you’re glad to spend time with. This isn’t a weak little princess of a girl. Coraline’s got guts. I happen to like my heroines plucky, which is probably why I’m so crazy about Coraline (book AND movie.)
Neil Gaiman is always a good place to turn for clever and smart stories – and “Coraline” exemplifies his skills.