Before I ever read Coraline, I watched the movie and read American Gods. I quite enjoyed the former, while the latter was… not exactly my favorite. So I was cautiously optimistic that I would like Coraline.
Well, consider the optimism well founded. I’ll never know if I enjoyed the book more because of the film or if I would have liked it as much had I read it first. So it goes. As it stands, I got a nice mix of the book’s / Gaiman’s way with words combined with the wonderfully bizarre visuals from the film. It made for quite the experience.
It’s sort of a kids book (apparently it was originally inspired as a story for Gaiman’s five year old daughter?) and sort of a dark fantasy / horror novel. It’s wonderful and creepy all at once. I really love a lot of the descriptions, although as above, I’m not sure how much of that came from the film and how much from the book, but it’s a darkly beautiful world either way.
On top of that, Coraline herself is a rather enjoyable part of the book. She feels like a child (or I guess what adult me remembers of being a child?), with a mixed sense of wonder and of wanderlust that most have grown out of but sometimes try to recall. Even at two, I’m already seeing the beginning of that in my own daughter. One day perhaps, I shall have to read Coraline to/with her and see what she thinks.
Final note: it’s been a while since I’ve seen the film, but so far as I remember, they feel rather closer than a book adaptation often is, which is pretty cool. Perhaps I should go back and watch it again to see if this is really the case…