In this short novella Gaiman once again weaves a tale full of imagination and darkness. Coraline is a girl with a wide imagination who is easily bored. She has recently moved into a flat in an old house and wishes to explore and ignores her parents suggestions of watching TV and reading, which she does a lot anyway. Curiosity gets the better of Coraline as she steals mother’s keys and enters the locked door in the drawing room to enter a mirror image of her flat. However, she meets her ‘other mother’ and finds herself trapped in a new reality.
I really enjoyed reading this book, because the story is well told and the imagery in Coraline is brilliant. Coraline deals with the themes of loneliness and fear, in the world where she is trapped by her monstrous other mother. Neil Gaiman makes in no secret that he was the guy in the corner reading a book and this story focusing heavily on how our own minds can trap us in imaginary worlds where everyone appears against us.
The great thing about Coraline, is that one could interpret the events of the book as a dream that Coraline has to battle out of so she can start school and carry on with life. The first chapter of this book describes the other inhabitants of the house, which included a man who claimed to have a circus of mice. The circus of mice may not have been a reality in a physical sense but in a mental sense it was real.
Coraline is a short but enjoyable read, plus it has a cat that talks. The idea of feeling trapped is explored well in a novella that can be described as a dark fairy tale. Despite being targeted at children, I recommend this as a book that readers of all ages should read.