Patrick's Reviews > Coraline

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
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's review
Jun 29, 2009

it was amazing
Read in August, 2014

I've read this book many different times in many different ways.

I read it off the page when it first came out. Later, I listened to Gaiman's narration of the audiobook when I was sequestered in the north woods of Wisconsin in a desperate attempt to finish book two. I watched the movie and enjoyed it.

My most recent experience of the book was listening to it with my little boy on a long car ride. I wasn't sure he'd be able to get into it. Not because of the vocabulary. He's very sharp for being 4.5. He's good with words. But sometimes he gets a little scared.

Despite my worries, he seemed to enjoy it. He paid attention, attention, asking for us to turn it back on after we stopped by the side of the road. A day later, he excitedly told me all about the story, apparently forgetting I'd been in the car too.

All of that was months ago. Fast forward to now....

* * *

"Dad," Oot said. "Do you know the guy who wrote Coraline?"

The question caught me by surprise. The two of us were driving to a party together, a friend was having a bonfire and I was amazed that he was thinking about anything other than smores.

"I do," I said. "His name is Neil Gaiman."

"Do you have his phone number?" he asked.

"No," I said.

"Do you know where he lives?"

"I do," I said.

"Are you his friend?"

That brought me up short. For Oot, that's a simple question. If you meet someone and play with them, they're you're friend. Easy.

For adults these things are harder. And it's doubly hard for me these days. My life has changed so much over the last five years, and my previously established metric for friendship doesn't work very well any more.

You see, for the majority of my life, a friend was someone who would, say, help me move a couch. Someone you could bum 10 dollars off of if you needed to. A friend was someone who felt comfortable enough to come over to my house without calling first. Then, if I wasn't home, they would let themselves in, eat out of my fridge, and start watching TV.

While I'm terribly fond of him, Neil Gaiman has never done any of these things.

Then again, neither have any of the other authors I've met over the last few years. I'm painfully aware of the need for new friendship metrics, but I haven't managed to develop a good set yet.

That won't make any sense to my boy, but still, I try to be honest with him whenever I can. "I don't know if we're friends," I say. "But we're colleagues."

"What's a colleagues?" he asks, right on cue.

"That means we know each other and do the same job," I explain.

"Oh yes," he says. "You're both authors."

It makes me proud when he says that. I'm proud that my boy knows I write books.

"Do you know his address?" Oot asks, and it takes me a while to realize that he's returning to his previous line of questioning.

"I do," I said, not bothering to point out that knowing where someone lives and knowing their address is pretty much the same thing.

"Can you send him a letter?"

"I could," I say.

Oot pauses for a moment then, and I realize that this has been the point of the whole conversation. He wants to send Neil Gaiman a message.

"What would you like me to write to him?" I ask.

"You should tell him he *sure* knows how to write a scary story...."

* * *

So there you go. You don't really need me to tell you how I feel about one of Gaiman's books at this point. You know I love his writing.

Instead, I'm offering up my boy's unvarnished opinion. Did he think the story was scary? Absolutely. But he still wanted us to turn it back on as soon as we were back in the car.

What's more, he was still thinking about Coraline months later. And it was the first book where he's ever shown any interest in contacting the author.

So. Bravo, Neil Gaiman. You've managed to win over two generations of the Rothfuss household.
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Quotes Patrick Liked

Neil Gaiman
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
Neil Gaiman, Coraline

Reading Progress

02/01/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-42 of 42) (42 new)

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Alexandra Awesome review, and a glowing recommendation :)

message 2: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth Geary I'm a fan of both Gaiman and Oot stories. Thanks for sharing.

message 3: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Eichenlaub Great review. Coraline read by Neil is probably my favorite audiobook of all time. I'm glad Oot liked it so much.

Sara Did you tell him?

message 5: by Rob (new)

Rob Wonderful Pat! Our kids are about the same age (my daughter is 5 and I tell her stories off the top of my head every night before bed) and I have a road trip coming up, possibly just the two of us. So audiobook here I come.

message 6: by Larue (new)

Larue Great review!

Cynthia From the mouth of a child comes wisdom

message 8: by Brandon (new) - added it

Brandon This might be the best and most honest review you've written, which is saying something since all of your reviews smack of quality and honesty. (except the ones I disagree with, those are all filthy lies, of course)

message 9: by Bruyere (new)

Bruyere It shows how truly amazing Neil Gaiman is that he narrates just as well as he writes.

Marjorie Lovely! I do hope that you do tell Neil, I think he'd like it.

message 11: by Solemn (new)

Solemn You know what would be a lot more interesting than this story?
Book 3 of the king killer chronicle

M-e-i-l-y I'm a fan of Oot!

message 13: by Don (new)

Don Runnion Solemn, Pat Rothfus is not your bitch, bitch.

message 14: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Campbell Hey Solemn, you know what's more interesting than harrying an author you supposedly like to finish their next book? Literally anything else.

message 15: by Brian (new)

Brian Bergstrom You can tell him I love Oot stories.

message 16: by Joe (new)

Joe That is surely the best review and recommendation I ever read.

message 17: by Adam (new) - added it

Adam Wonderful. :)

message 18: by Ricardo (new) - added it

Ricardo Mota wonderful review. And it's amazing that this triangle of awesome people with Patrick, Gaiman and Amanda Palmer exists.

Paige:)~The Booklion Great review! I've seen the movie and I have wanted to read some of Neils books!Your review(amazing by the way!!!!) has me wanting to get my hands on this book!:):)

Larissah McKinley I've seen the movie with my kids but never actually read it. It looks good!

message 21: by Bee (new) - added it

Bee So... the question is dear Patrick, have you writen that letter yet?

message 22: by Megan (new) - added it

Megan Montana A lovely review - I hope the esteemed Mr. Gaiman sees it.
Speaking of which, does that man have a goodreads himself?

Maddie/Art3mis Solemn...just no.

Emily This is a very exquisite review... JASMINE I NEED YOU AS MY FRIEND NOWWWWEW

Emily This is a very exquisite review... JASMINE I NEED YOU AS MY FRIEND NOWWWWEW

Carmen Cute story about your son. :)

message 28: by David (new)

David Umm ... "Oot"?

Claire This is a great story. Such a good feeling as a father .and. as an author to know you are probably raising a reader.

message 30: by Cesar (new) - added it

Cesar Castellon I'm reading this book now. Thanks Pat.
P.S. Impatiently waiting on the third King killer book to come out:)

message 31: by ginia (new) - added it

ginia that was so cute how your son wantedd to listen again and again to that story even if it did scare him. i think he'll be an author like you someday.

message 32: by Ashwini (new)

Ashwini Mali Spectacular review Sir! Beautifully expressed!

Mrs C J Heron i would love to read it by Matthew Heron

Mrs C J Heron I like you i need a follower,thank's

message 35: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Chua this seem to me more like another story than a review. *hands down*

message 36: by Kokokai (new) - added it

Kokokai How do i read books on this app?

message 37: by Tarik (new)

Tarik Ghiradella A very profound story. Many layers

message 38: by Fara7 (new)

Fara7 So very enjoyable to read..!

message 39: by MJ1 (new)

MJ1 ive watched the movie

David Thompson What a wonderful manner in which to write a review... the tale of a child. Your review gave me a sense of recursion, like reaching into an inside-out sock to pull it rightside out. Well done.

message 41: by Kaylee (new) - added it

Kaylee D The movie was great! I would have read the book first but I never knew there was a book. I saw it a Barnes and Noble but I had to get a Horror book for class and I didn't have enough money to buy it. I still think that even if I read the book the movie will be so much better. The movie is not even creepy, people say it's so scary, but it really isn't. This is one of my favorite movies.

message 42: by Pame (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pame i love your review!!

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