Monday, November 16, 2009
Cannonball Read #3: Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Coraline was my first Neil Gaiman book ever (Thanks for recommending it, Rebecca!) and it was not like I imagined. I didn't watch the movie, just the trailer, so I wasn't spoilered by much. My synopsis is gonna basically be like how the preview set up: Coraline is very bored with the world she lives in. Her parents seem like regular parents; her neighbors like old farts; and there aren't interesting places to explore around her house. One day, she discovers a little door in the drawing room (I'm gonna assume that's like British for home office or something) that leads to a different parallel world. It's similar to her old life, yet there are some peculiar modifications. The most disconcerting difference (to Coraline) is that all the people in this world had dark, shiny buttons for eyes instead of... well, eyes.
I'm not sure what else to say about the plot because I don't want to give everything away and it was quite short (My copy is 162 pages with big-ish print.) What stood out to me about Coraline was how mature she was about her seriously bizarre situation. I don't remember how old she's supposed to be (was it mentioned in the book?) but I assumed around 10, and there was a part where she went on a speech (it was long, considering how short most of the dialogue/descriptions were) that basically boiled down to her realization that being brave does not exclude being scared. In fact, doing something even though you are scared is what makes the action brave. That little speech was really my favorite part of the book.
As I said before, I've never read anything by Gaiman so this was really an en eye-opener. I don't know what I was expecting but I was really surprised by how sparse, yet detailed, his language is. His diction and sentence structure was really carefully chosen because he conveyed a lot without writing a great amount. It's strange because I consider reading fiction to be something I have to slough through – it's a enjoyable slough though. And I admire people who can write long detailed descriptions that make me want to read them, not skim through it. But even more than that, I aspire to write concisely about things that aren't necessarily full of facts (comes with my journalism degree/dreams.) So Gaiman's style was just such a pleasure to read. I look forward to checking out other stuff from him.