There are "children's" books which will make you travel down memory lane, and then there are "children's" books which will make you regret that you hadn't read them earlier. For me, Coraline is in the second category.
From Ali Baba's cave to Narnia, it's no secret to bookworms that MAGIC happens when you open a forbidding door and Coraline is no exception to that rule. Often compared with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, this dark fantasy novella has been awarded numerous British and American literary awards, and rightfully so.
Coraline Jones (not Caroline!) moves into a dilapidated house teeming with mysteries and secrets to be unraveled. Since neither of her parents has much time or attention to spare for her, she goes through that strange bricked-up door and reaches another house which is somewhat similar, yet disturbingly different than her own. Adventures within adventures unfold while Coraline fights the Bedlam not only to save her eyes from being replaced with shiny new buttons but also to rescue her family and new-found friends.
In the quintessential Neil Gaiman style, Coraline is bone-chilling. The setting is enchanting; the plot magnetic; and each and every character are exquisite in their own ways. However, my favorite is the black cat. Not to mention what an extraordinarily brave, honest, and intelligent little girl the protagonist is! She should certainly would remind many a reader of Matilda, Hermione, Alice, and Lucy Pevensie.
Next time someone says that your eyes are as cute as buttons, my dear readers, beware!
T.S. Marin is obsessed about collecting and reading fantasy novels; she is lecturer of English at Primeasia University, and Sub Editor of Star Literature and Star Reviews.