I just finished reading Neil Gaiman's "Coraline," a novel for young readers (and well, adults like me, I suppose). It was so interesting I finished it in two days (in between reading "The Rule of Four" and various wedding books). It was very engrossing. Very much like an Alice in Wonderland with more horror in it than wonder. Well, that's why I like Neil Gaiman's stories. They're very twisted and also very insightful at the same time. We whine about all the things we don't have. But just imagine if you entered another world where everything is familiar but terribly frightening.
I sort of identified with Coraline because, in a way, I've lived my life in an "other world" for some decades. In those years I was handicapped with an extraordinary fear of my own home. Well, more specifically, a fear of "mother." Again, here is a point which totally engrossed me about "Coraline." There is the character of "other mother," the antithesis of Coraline's mother. It was at that point that I realized what it said about a mother's role. A mother can create a home. She has that power. A home can be whatever she makes it to be. It can be a child's world. I remember reading a line from "The Crow" which was quoted out of an an old poem: "Mother is the word for God on children's lips." How true. How scary for a mother, really. And for a child, depending on the mother.
All in all, "Coraline" was entertaining, chilling and a good read before going to bed. Here's to the child, that fearless explorer and cock-eyed optimist, in all of us.