AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

Released: 2002 (HarperCollins Children’s Audio)
Source: Purchased
Buy Now From: Amazon

Narrator: Neil Gaiman

When Coraline explores her new home, she steps through a door and into another house just like her own – except that things aren’t quite as they seem. There’s another mother and another father in this house and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. Coraline must use all of her wits and every ounce of courage in order to save herself and return home… but will she escape and will life ever be the same again? 

Elsewhere in this collection, a sinister jack-in-the-box haunts the lives of all the children who ever owned it, a stray cat does nightly battle to protect his adopted family, and a boy raised in a graveyard confronts the much more troubled world of the living. From the scary to the whimsical, the fantastical to the humorous, Coraline and Other Stories is a journey into the the dark, magical world of Neil Gaiman.

My Thoughts

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned if before, but I am with Neil Gaiman. I’m a huge Tori Amos fan and she’s mentioned him in songs and interviews, so I heard about him a long while ago. Stardust was my first read by him (review to come soon) and I love the escape Neil provides in his words. He’s just amazing.

OK, enough gushing, right?

Coraline is one of those novels that is wonderful for kids and adults alike. It’s the perfect Halloween read—I’m sure even adults would have strange dreams after reading it at night! It’s very creepy, but not too adolescent in its creepiness. It’s Alice in Wonderland meets The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe meets anything weird by Tim Robbins.

Coraline is the story of young Coraline (obviously) who’s bored. Her parents work all the time and her neighbours never say her name right, so she goes off on her own and explores. One day she finds a door that opens up to bricks. Her mother tells her that the empty flat is actually next door. That’s all find and dandy until one night Coraline hears the door creak open. Getting up to figure out what’s going on, Coraline goes on a scary adventure in the other flat—which looks exactly like her own—meeting her parents (her other mom and dad—with buttons for eyes!) and her neighbours (her other neighbours). They all look exactly the same as the normal version, but they’re very different.

One thing I love about Neil’s writing is that there’s not a lot of fluffy filler going on—he describes scenes and characters, but there’s not a whole lot of filler, flowery words going on. He tells you a story with all the information you need to know, nothing more, nothing less. He gets to the point (moreso than I’m doing in this review)

The great thing about Neil Gaiman is how he excels at writing both kids and adult books—they’re all characteristically Neil Gaiman and no one else.He can just as easily write from the viewpoint of a child, then write something more complex like American Gods or Neverwhere.

I don’t want to give anything away, but if you do anything, do me a favour and read the book, then listen to the audiobook. It’s read by Neil and he does an amazing job of really setting the mood and telling the story. It’s fantastic! Oh, and then watch the movie. It’s a real triptych of fabulousness.


11 thoughts on “AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

  1. You sold me, I think I will add to list for next year Halloween. I love that he doesn’t go into excessive description, I hate that.

    I loved one of Tori Amos cds and hated another so much I haven’t listened to any lately.

    Great review, I can tell you are a total fan. I wish I could get into audio, this one sounds good.

    • Yes! Definitely add it to your list for next year – it’s wonderful, no matter what version you listen to. Tori Amos is definitely an acquired taste – there are a couple albums I really haven’t gotten into, but I do love the majority of them. Her latest one, Night of Hunters, is beautiful!

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My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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