I had ordered this book long ago when on a whim I was determined to get all of Gaiman's books. I noticed that it was a childrens book so I mentally filed it away. When I saw the advertisements for the movie... I knew that with a 7 year old I would have to watch the film and ripped the book off the shelf to make sure I'd read it before watching the film.
How weird it all is... I read it in just about a half an hour or so... and it was creepy. Little Coraline is bored... both of her parents work at home, but they are always busy with work and rarely have time to play with her. She wanders about their house (a flat converted from a much larger house) and visits with the neigbors. Even when she is visiting with the neighbors, they don't seem to really notice her, everyone talks at Coraline rather than to her. She enjoys exploring and eventually comes across a door in her flat that opens to a brick wall. Her mother explaines that it used to be a door that went into the neighboring flat, but now it's bricked up in case they rent it out.
Suddenly strange things crawl through the night, and a door that once lead to a wall of bricks, opens to a long dark hallway... to a world disturbingly similar to the one she just left... only with frightening and sinister undertones. Coraline shows her strength, intelligence, cunning and determination to find not only her parents, but also to get back home.
As an adult I thought to myself - this book will scare the crapola out of little ones! In the back Gaiman states that the book was frightening to adults and an exciting adventure to children. Perplexed, I handed it off to my 7 year old... expecting it to look as though it had been through a chipper shredder when handed back to me. Much to my surprise... not only did he read it, but there were no nightmares... he was thrilled with it and can't wait for the movie. I'm still perplexed as to how this book brings out such completely different emotions in children and adults. I don't know that the movie will be able to pull it off... I have a hunch that the movie might encourage leaving the light in the hallway on at night.
Still... if you are an adult, don't let that stop you from reading this wonderful book. I wouldn't compair it to Narnia other than a door opens into another world. Think of it more like Alice in Wonderland... and not the Disney version either... or The Wizard of Oz, focused on the scenes with the flying monkeys and the witch.
Highly recommended, excellent novel.