Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Coraline

Coraline - Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.Coraline the movie is one of my all-time favorite movies. There is no need for me to argue it. One of the few good things my brother's then-girlfriend did for me was to make me sit down with her and my brother to watch the movie. I'm not a huge fan of Dakota Fanning, but I thought she was fantastic while voicing Coraline and both the animation and plot of the movie wowed me. After that fantastic cinematic experience, I wanted so badly to read the book, but I had such trouble finding it in stores. Now I have my own copy to cherish and I won't be letting it go anytime soon.At first, I found the writing a little simplistic even for a children's book. She did this, he did this, she did this, she said this or that--I like it when a book is direct, but there is a difference between that and telling us everything instead of showing it. As I kept reading and saw Coraline make statements like this:Coraline sighed. "You really don't understand, do you?" she said. "I don't want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted? Just like that, and it didn't mean anything. What then?" (Coraline, p. 120)I realized the book was not simplistically written; it was merely understated. Some sage words of wisdom are in these pages (one piece in particular is especially relevant to another book I am reading right now) and the choice to keep the novel so sparsely described lets the truly extraordinary moments and phrases of Coraline's shine.The other mother is a thoroughly creepy character and I love her for it. My friends may or may not share this opinion, but it is often the creepiest characters in a novel that I love the most. Wait, I should revise that because I don't love all creepy characters (the idea of me even tolerating the creeptastic Patch Cipriano of Hush, Hush fame and similar characters is both laughable and frightening). I love the creeps that are not romanticized and are allowed to shine in all their creepy glory. When it is shown as it is, I find it interesting; when it is romanticized and I know it most certainly should not be, I find it infuriating. The other mother ends up on the good side.(And that was me seeing how many times I could say creepy or some variation of it before it stopped sounding like a word anymore. It still sounds like one, so I haven't used it nearly enough. I'll do better next time!)In a way, my love for both the movie and the book is affected by nostalgia for a long-lost time. Being able to sit on the top bunk of my brother's bed, watch a movie, and feel like nothing bad could happen--I'll never have that back. My brother and his girlfriend broke up; the bunk bed was later broken during a home invasion that has become one of the defining moments of my life due to the trauma. Coraline takes me back to a time where I could sit on the ancient, creaking bunk bed and feel safe. Two and a half years of fear, paranoia, and the inability to feel safe is a very long time indeed.So should you read Coraline? Yes. I don't hand out five-star ratings lightly these days and this book deserves one. For the echo of safety it can take me back to and its subtle charm, I love it.