Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Neil moved into his new flat in Sussex, South of England. There was a door that opened and a brick wall was on the other side. The book was for my daughter who liked scary stuff. In the story, Coraline would end up rescuing her parents. Although I took very long to complete writing it, people still liked it and the book managed to win awards. It was about being brave and doing the right thing

Being brave didn’t mean you weren’t scared. Being brave meant that you were scared, really scared, badly scared, and you did the right thing anyway. – Coraline

Coraline discovered the door in the old house. Miss Spink and Miss Forcible lived below her. They used to be famous actresses. There was an old man who was planning a mouse circus living above her. He wouldn’t show her how the mouse performed. Coraline explored the garden, the well and looked for animals. Her mum cooked for her but Coraline liked to explore the house. Her parents worked from home. Her dad allowed her to explore the drawing room but warned that she should not touch anything. Coraline took a count of every door, window in the house. There was a door which opened to a brick wall. She didn’t lock the door. Deep in the night, she heard a creek. It was a black shape and it was in the drawing room. Later, when she switched on the lights, the black shape disappeared and there was only a brick wall. The black shapes started to sing but Coraline ignored them and went to sleep.

Coraline met Miss Spink on her way out of the house. She explored the area and went back after a while. The old man above her waved at her. It was misty and they started chatting. The mice warned Coraline not to go through the door. Coraline tried to kill time by drawing. Her parents were busy and she played with Miss Spink and Miss Forcible instead. Miss Spink read her future and warned that she would be in serious danger. To her, many adults didn’t make sense when they spoke. Miss Spink gave Coraline a stone with a hole in it for safekeeping.

Her dad headed to London for a business trip. Coraline went shopping with her mum. She wondered what was in the empty flat beside their house. Her mum later left to run errands and left Coraline alone at home. Now, she grabbed the keys and entered the empty room again. When she opened the door, a dark hallway awaited her. The interiors were exactly like her home and she was confused. There was a lady who touched her, her skin was like paper and she much slimmer. It was her other mother. Her other father was also in the house. The food was wonderful and the three of them had a meal together. Later, her other mother would let her play with rats and she grew excited. There were many objects that caught her attention. The rats gathered and started to sing ‘We have teeth and we have tails; We have tails we have eyes; We were here before you fell; You will be here when we rise.’ The rats returned to the old man and he welcomed her to visit anytime. Now, Coraline started to explore the house on the outside.

She met a cat who could speak. The cat seemed familiar. Coraline said that they could be friends. The cat appeared arrogant. The cat mentioned something about her bringing protection…. Later, Coraline continued exploring and came into a dark theatre where a dog started speaking to her. Later, the dog directed her to an empty seat. All of the other members of the audience were dogs and they were watching Miss Spink and Forcible perform. Later, Coraline volunteered herself on stage. Miss Forcible was blindfolded and she, thankfully, threw a knife on a balloon perched on Coraline’s head. She gave the chocolates she won to the dog. Later, she walked out of the theatre and saw her parents. Now, her other parents persuaded her to stay in the other house forever. Her other mother placed her hand on her and Coraline backed off. Then, she made her exit and headed back to her real home. Her heart was pounding wildly as her other parents tried to stalk her.

Cats don’t have names. Now, people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names. – The Cat

Coraline was home now. Her parents were not in for the entire day and she entertained herself. Her parents seemed to have disappeared. A cat led Coraline to her parents, who were in a mirror and appeared sad. They wrote this message ‘Help Us’. The police refused to take action as they didn’t believe her story. Coraline was talking to the cat about how brave her dad was in the past. His dad let Coraline run first so that not many wasps would sting her. She wanted to go back into the dark world to save her parents. Her other mother saw her and hugged her tightly. She demanded the return of her real parents. Her other mother promised to take good care of her. Her other parents were tired and went to sleep. The cat admitted that her other parents wanted someone to love and that is why they were so fond of Coraline. The cat advised Coraline to challenge and play games with her.

Coraline woke up after her night of sleep. She changed and placed the stone in her pocket. Her other mother locked the door and prevented from going back to her real house. There was a bowl of glass on the mantelpiece. Later, Coraline explored the trees outside the house. A cat approached her suddenly and they started conversing. It seemed like the world was something the other mother created and everything was not real. The rats were apparently the spies of the other mother. The cat caught a rat in that moment. Coraline went back in the house, only to be confronted by her other mother. She wanted to play games with the girl. All this while, Coraline acted very rebellious. Her other mother ate beetles for a snack. She was pissed at Coraline’s behaviour and threw Coraline into a dim space behind the mirror.

She was placed into a small closet. Later, she heard a voice. There were little children in the closet who refused to reveal their names. The other children suffered the same fate as Coraline and some of them never saw their real parents again. They encouraged Coraline to flee. The other mother would remove your heart and soul and make you feel meaningless. There were 3 other children in the closet and Coraline was starting to feel hungry. The other children didn’t think they could escape because their hearts were stolen and they could not be exposed to light.

One day, the other mother came to pick up Coraline. Coraline challenged her to a game, where if she lost, she would continue staying with her. If she won, Coraline would get reunited with her real parents and the children would be released. The game would be to explore and find her real parents. Coraline started to comb the house with the stone in hand and attempted to look for the souls. Now, she looked through the stone and everything appeared grey except a bright orange object on the floor. The orange marble was one of the souls she uncovered. There were still two more to go. The weather worsened and the sand gushed in the wind. Once she entered the abandoned theatre, Coraline searched the room for a soul. There was a sac in the theatre and had the form of a monster. After looking through the stone, she concluded that it was a soul and that she had to approach it even if she was extremely fearful of it. She grabbed the marble from the creature. The creature resembled the other Miss Spink and Miss Forcible and woke up as soon as Coraline grabbed the marble. Thankfully, Coraline escaped in the nick of time.

Coraline returned to the house and updated her other mother that she found 2 souls. Her other mother seemed furious and cross. Although she did provide love, she was not real and Coraline had to leave her behind. Later, she handed Coraline a key to an empty room. It seemed like a trick but Coraline did explore the room. There was a cold ring set in the floorboards and she tugged at it. Then, after tugging, a trapdoor opened and Coraline continued to explore. After much difficulty, she found a foot sticking out from the curtains. It was pale and puffed up, but had the shape of a human. Coraline retreated in horror. It was her other father. The other mother punished him for telling Coraline too much initially. When the other mother was unhappy, everyone else would suffer. The thing approached her now. Later Coraline plucked out his other button eye and the thing wailed in pain. She managed to close the trapdoor and prevented the thing from following her. After she exited the room, the other mother was not waiting for her.

Now, Coraline explored the topmost flat, where the crazy man lived. A part of her feared entering, but she felt nothing could trump her previous experiences. Many mice were staring at her and there was a terrible stench. Everything was all made up by the other mother. The snowglobe on the mantelpiece gave Coraline a clue. The voice encouraged her to love her new world, where it was more exciting. The voice was coming from under the old man’s hat. Coraline knew that he possessed a soul after looking at him through the stone. Later, all of a sudden, the man disintegrated and many rats ran about. The largest one of them was holding the remaining soul. She kept her focus on the one with the marble and followed it. Coraline was hurt after a fall while chasing the rat and the rat eventually got away. As she started to wallow in self-pity, the rat appeared. Well, the cat actually attacked it and brought the dead rat to her. With the three marbles, all she needed to do was to find her parents. The thing was that the other mother couldn’t create anything new, but could only transform, twist and change reality. The appearance of the house was appearing like a drawing instead of a photograph now. The cat was weak and trembling and Coraline carried it. The door shrank much but Coraline still managed to enter it.

You really don’t understand, do you? 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? – Coraline

The other mother appeared and talked to Coraline. Her other mother stared at Coraline while she entered the drawing room. She was awful-looking and didn’t resemble her mother at all. She challenged Coraline to look for her parents and suggested that they might be in the cellar. Coraline said they were in the passageway between the houses. Now the other mother smiled on hearing Coraline’s answer. She started drawing the key to open the door. Coraline backed away to the mantelpiece. Coraline threw the cat on the other mother and it started scratching and attacking her. Black stuff oozed out from her other mother’s face. In the meantime, Coraline grabbed the snowglobe on the mantelpiece. The cat followed her into the corridor. Now, Coraline closed the door. With the help of the other children, the door shut even though the other mother tried to open it. Coraline started on her uphill run. She managed to make out the 5 figures in the vicinity, there were three children and two adults. The world now seemed normal and the scenery outside was beautiful. Now, Coraline felt into a deep sleep.

It was her real mother who woke her up the next day. Her parents didn’t realize what had happened. The marbles were still in her pocket intact. It certainly wasn’t just a dream. Coraline ate the pizza that dad made for her.  To be safe, she kept the key around her neck. She dreamt in her sleep now. It was a picnic setting with three other children. The children were very grateful for the experience. Later, everyone headed to the meadow to play. Everything they did was a pure joy to watch. They were grateful for Coraline’s help. The boy started holding her hand. The boy advised her to be wise, brave and tricky in order to survive. The children headed off to the huge moon. There was a rustling noise outside her room now. Apparently it wasn’t over yet. Something was heading to the front door. It was like a crab scuttling around. It was her other mother’s right hand which was looking for the black key.

It was the next day. The marbles now looked like dead eggshells once the children had been released. Hamish the Scottie dog was injured while fighting with a hand. The old man’s mice were scared and didn’t want to play any musical instruments too. In the night, the hand crept to her window ledge. Coraline grabbed her picnic items and headed out to the meadow. She removed planks in the ground to reveal a brick-lined hole in the ground. Coraline wanted to give others the impression that was enjoying herself. Then, later she checked on Hamish’s condition. Now, Coraline held the key and sauntered through the woods. She placed the key on the tablecloth which covered the well. It was all up to the hand now. The hand did come and it leapt onto the tablecloth. The weight of the hand caused it to drop into the well. Coraline covered the well with the planks. Soon after, the cat appeared all excited at what Coraline did. When she returned to the house, the old man promised that she could watch the mice perform. She returned the stone to Miss Spink and Miss Forcible. Everyone thought that Coraline was an extraordinary girl. Coraline could look forward to school with optimism. Nothing fazed her anymore.

Coraline_Paperback_1258910704

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2 thoughts on “Coraline by Neil Gaiman

  1. “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?” 😛

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