Neil Gaiman weaves this intensely disturbing tale centered around this little girl, an only child of working parents. She discovers that a hitherto unremarkable locked door in her house leads to an alternate world. This world is populated with slightly unsettling versions of her house, parents and neighbors, who call themselves the "other" ones. Much more attentive and entertaining, they work to convince Coraline to stay there with them, rather than return to her usual world.
Coraline's real parents get abducted, and Coraline discovers that it is the work of the other mother. With the help of a black cat, which seems to be the only one who can walk across both worlds, Coraline mounts a daring rescue plan.
Very frightening, and has quite a few intense scenes. Definitely not for the more sensitive children. The story is very well crafted, but I did have a few of questions.
- Coraline does not seem to get scared at all, and remains rather detached through what should have been extremely disconcerting situations. Why? How much of a number did her parents play on her that she isn't even very put out by their complete absence for days?
- The other mother takes an inordinate amount of time to seduce Coraline with visions of a wonderful life. It seemed like she was powerful enough to simply overpower Coraline for her nefarious purposes without going through the rigmarole of playing games, and toying.
Still, as a children's horror story, it doesn't get better than this.