Tuesday, October 29, 2013
I usually love scary stories. Picking out books for the R.I.P. challenge is something I look forward to each year. However, for some reason -- whether it be the fact that I am now a mother, or the fact that I care for kids every day for whom death is no joke -- I have had a hard time this year. I started The Diviners and Bellman and Black and could not get through them due to the dark, creep factor. However, Coraline, despite being satisfyingly scary, was just the right level to give me a good scare without disturbing me too much.
Coraline is about a little girl who has a pretty decent life that is pretty boring. She goes off in search of adventure and finds it -- but it leads to a lot of terror and responsibility to go through that terror to save lives. There is a big focus in the book on being brave -- on doing things you don't want to do that are necessary. I think that is part of the reason I loved Coraline -- I don't like books that are written purely to disturb. I like that there is a positive message at the bottom of the scary story.
I also loved the exquisite combination of beautiful writing and creepy, creepy pictures. This is the first Neil Gaiman I have read (I know, I know) and thus far, the hype is all warranted -- in fact, the next book I plan to pick up is also Neil Gaiman. The illustrations are also excellent for portraying the vivid images Gaiman creates with his words. I felt submersed in Coraline's creepy adventure, surrounded by the things that were haunting and frightening her.
Coraline was an excellent read for this Halloween, and I am glad that I finally picked up a Neil Gaiman novel. I may not be able to handle as much fright as I used to be, but it is good to know that there are some great ghost stories out there that aren't overly gory or dark.