Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday=Book Review Time--Buttons?

Up for today:  CORALINE by Neil Gaiman
coraline movie by joanneteh_32
Why I bought it? I kept hearing so many amazing things about Neil Gaiman and this book sounded interesting, so I put it on my Christmas list and my husband got it. 

Synopsis: Coraline is a young girl who sneaks into a mirror image flat through a locked door in her own to find an alternate reality with another mother and father. The neighbors are the same but different. All the people in this reality have buttons for eyes. Things are all geared to make her happy in the new world to get her to choose to stay. The food is delicious. All the games and shows are for her.  What will Coraline choose? Should she go back to her real family or stay with the other mother? Is it safe to stay with the other mother? How can she get back home?

Coraline Movie poster by _aBe

What I thought? I have to preface this with a reminder that my opinions and scores are not based on literary merit, but my own enjoyment of the book. Since Gaiman won the Newberry, it is obvious that his writing is very good, however, I was not as thrilled with this as I thought I would be. So many of my friends loved it and thought it was amazing. I kept hoping for that feeling, but, alas, it never really came. The story is very unique, and it did get better for me at the end (which took me forever to get to because I kept putting the book down). It was a very different kind of story than what I normally read. Pretty creepy in a lot of places. It is geared for children, but I was kind of grossed out in several scenes--some things struck me as really weird. I can see some kids being scared, but some really like that. So it's a matter of preference. The alternate covers I found do a better job of showing the feel of the book than the first one (which is the one on my copy). The first one looks quirky and fun with scary elements. The others look more menacing. The book was pretty dark, I thought.

coraline - pulp fiction by mike r baker

What my daughter thought? She said it reminded her of Matilda by Roald Dahl, and that it was creepy but good.

My Rating: ***1/2 out of 5 (Only this high because it got better at the end, and the writing was good.)

My Daughter's Rating: **** out of 5 

Cleanness Score: 3 out of 10, This is really for the grossness factor, but that is such a relative thing. 

28 comments:

Windsong said...

I liked the premise, even though the story freaked me out. Maybe nightmares of a female hand coming to get you are more common than I thought. :$

It was almost like the novel was a dream. A scary, frightening dream that isn't quite reality. While it's classified as a kid's book, I probably won't let my kids read it until they're older. Too scary, in my opinion. But then, I am a huge chicken.

KLo said...

I feel stupid for asking, but is Tim Burton making a movie about this? Regardless, I'm going to add it to my reading list based on your recommendation. Thanks : )

beth said...

I thought Coraline was OK--I felt she was a strong character--but my fav Neil Gaimon is Neverwhere. Takes place in London and uses Tube Stops as a fantasy world. Totally a more engaging read, IMO.

Tess said...

Neil Gaimon is one creepy dude. Brilliant, but creepy.

lotusgirl said...

Windsong, It seemed like a dream to me too. I wouldn't let little kids read it either. The daughter who read it was 14. I don't plan to let my 8 year old read it for a while.

KLo, There is a movie out right now for it. It's still not on video yet. Probably in the dollar theaters. I hear it's good, but I haven't seen it.

beth, I may try Neverwhere. I'm going to have to wait a while though on that though.

Tess, Well said.

peace, love, and rock&roll said...

I just read your last comment on this....and is Maggie really 8?!? My, oh, my where does the time go? I really wanted to see this movie. It looked good. Maybe now I'll start off with the book.

Justus M. Bowman said...

Sounds creepy and gross. I wonder if the animated film stayed true to the story's style.

Silicon Valley Diva said...

Based on your input, I just don't think is the type of story I would enjoy either. Not into "dark" type of stories.

We saw this at the theater. I didn't care for the creepiness. Like you, I love some of the creative aspects. Definitely not something I would recommend for young children.

lotusgirl said...

A, You'd probably like it. You like darker stuff than I do. I've heard good things about the movie, but I'm not sure it's for me, especially after reading the book.

Justus, I wonder too. I haven't seen it.

SVD, I was wondering how the movie was. If it's really creepy, I'm not the least bit interested in seeing it.

Damyanti said...

I like Gaiman, I've read Ananasi boys, Neverwhere and Fragile things. But there is only so much of his work I can read. Like you, I'm not besotted.

Rena said...

I haven't read it yet, nor seen the movie. I'd be interested to see how you compared the book to the film as well.

Pen Pen said...

ALL of those covers are scaring me. I write thriller/mild horror, but I'm a whimp who is afraid of the dark at heart...Writing is my way to get it out I think.
I want to read the book though-I've always enjoyed the darker Dahl renditions before they were 'Disney-afied'.
...and I did love that in the movie all the little clothes has to be sewn! :)

lotusgirl said...

Damyanti, This was my first trip to Gaimanland, and I'm not sure I want to go back. I'm sure I will at some point, but not anytime soon.

Rena. I'm not sure I want to see the movie. I probably will at some point just to make the comparison though.

Pen Pen, I thought the last 2 covers were scary. Very creepy, but the book is creepy so they reflect that well.

Lady Glamis said...

Hmm, it really doesn't sound like something I'd enjoy, so thank you for a great review so I don't have to put this on my to-read list. :D

Jenn Johansson said...

This is interesting. I haven't read it yet, but I've heard good things. I've also been warned not to take young kids to the movie, which I found interesting. I'm going to have to read it myself and see what I think I guess. Thanks for the unbiased review! :)

lotusgirl said...

Glam, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't care for it.

Jenn, Yeah, this is for kids, so they say, but I wouldn't have the very young read it. Can you say Nightmares?

Alexa said...

I want to read this. I saw the movie and thought it was excellent. Although the other mother was scary, it's definitely not for little kids.

Good omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett is one of my favourite books. I also really liked Stardust.

lotusgirl said...

I'll have to try one of those sometime.

Stacy Nyikos said...

I'm not a big fan of scary, mostly because then I'm the one who can't sleep at night. Way overactive imagination. But I bet my 7 year old will love this!

PJ Hoover said...

I really liked the book and loved the movie. The movie was total eye candy, and the book was a creepy little treat. One thing I liked a lot about the book was it hooked me right from the start - something which happens less and less in MG novels these days (for me at least).

lotusgirl said...

Stacy, My imagination is the same.

PJ, I knew there were some of you out there who had read the book and seen the movie and enjoyed them both. How did the movie compare to the book?

PJ Hoover said...

I loved the book, and was more than happy with all the changes made for the movie. Honestly, seeing the movie in 3D was a huge treat!

And for the record, I was not a fan of Nightmare before Christmas at all (which many people wonder).

lotusgirl said...

Thanks for the comparison PJ. It sounds like the movie is not as creepy as the book.

The Things We Carried said...

I liked the movie more than the book, but it is a creepy tale, especially for children!

lotusgirl said...

Thanks, TTWC, that was one of the things I was wondering. Who liked the movie better?

Robyn said...

We liked the movie better. And usually I like the book more than the movie. :)

Crimogenic said...

Not really my kind of book, but I have heard the movie was very good, good visuals.

lotusgirl said...

Robyn, thanks for letting me know. I'm getting the impression that it's that way for most people.

Crimey, What I've seen of the trailers looks like there are quite a few good visuals.