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Friday, August 14, 2009

Coraline - Neil Gaiman

Read for the Dream King Reading Challenge.

Coraline is the story of Coraline Jones, who discovers a secret door in her new home that leads to a mirror version of reality where her Other Mother is waiting to welcome her. Naturally, all is not as it appears, and the adventure begins.

I’m afraid that since I saw the movie version of this story before I was able to read the book, this review is going to be mostly about my impressions of the book versus the movie. I was actually surprised by how different they were. Coraline the movie took a tight story and expanded it into a visual masterpiece.

I have to characterize the book as a tight, creepy story. Once the action starts, Coraline is very quickly thrown out of her real world, and it’s entirely up to her to save the day. There aren’t as many characters in the book as in the movie, and many of those that are in both have far less action in the book. I’m very impressed by how the moviemakers were able to take these characters and expand them to fill up the screen. I won’t say I like the movie better than the book, because I think they’re atmospherically very different, and what’s in one should not be compared to the other. I’m more in awe of how different the two stories are, considering how much the same they are as well. I know this sounds strange, but I’m having a very hard time trying to put my impressions of the two stories into words.

I think I’d have to recommend reading the book before seeing the movie. I’m a little sorry I already have a mental picture of Coraline’s world in my head, because I suspect it would have been different if I’d read the book first. But regardless, this a great story that lead to a great movie, and I’m glad to have experienced both.

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