Skip to main content
Book Clubbing

Introduction

Coraline
by Neil Gaiman

Title

Movie

Author

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman

Author Interview

About the Book

The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring....

In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it's different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

About the Author

Bestselling author Neil Gaiman has long been one of the top writers in modern comics, and has also penned many books for readers of all ages, including AMERICAN GODS, ANANSI BOYS, CORALINE, and M IS FOR MAGIC. He is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers, and is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama. He has written multiple New York Times bestselling books, and is a Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, SFX, and Locus Award winner. He has also worked in support of First Amendment rights, and was awarded the Defender of Liberty Award in August 1997 by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund for his efforts. Born and raised in England, Neil now lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Discussion Questions

  1. Describe Coraline. What kind of a person is she? How does she like to spend her time?
  2. How is Coraline treated by her parents? Who are the other adults in Coraline's life and how do they treat her? What is the difference between how she is treated in the real world and the other world?
  3. Before entering the other world, Coraline receives ominous warnings about her future. What are the warnings and from whom does she receive them? What do the messages mean?
  4. When Coraline unlocks the door to the neighboring flat she knows she is doing something she is not supposed to (pp.26). But she does it anyway. Why? What are the consequences? Have you ever done something you knew you were not supposed to? How did this make you feel? What were the consequences of your actions?
  5. When Coraline discovers her parents are missing, she calls the police (pp. 54‐55). What does she tell the officer? How does he respond? Why? How would you respond if you were the officer? Why? What would you have done if you were in Coraline's situation?
  6. How does Coraline define bravery (pp. 58‐59)? In what ways does Coraline demonstrate bravery? What is your definition of bravery?
  7. The other mother tells Coraline: "We're ready to love you and play with you and feed you and make your life more interesting." (pp. 60) How is Coraline's life with her other family different from life with her real family? What does Coraline find appealing about life in the other world? What family would you choose? Why?
  8. Coraline's other mother tells her that if she wants to stay in the other world there is one thing she must do. What is it? What effect will it have on her?
  9. Why does the other mother want Coraline? What does the cat think about this (pp. 65)? Why has she taken the other children and Coraline's parents?
  10. Miss Spink and Miss Forcible give Coraline a special stone (p. 21). Why? What does the stone look like? What special power does the stone have? How does Coraline use it?
  11. What challenge does Coraline present to her other mother (p. 91)? What will happen if she loses? What will happen if she wins? What makes her think winning is possible? Do you think this challenge is wise? Why or why not?
  12. Do the mirrors Coraline encounters in the real world and the other world reflect reality or illusion? How do you know? What is the significance of mirrors in Coraline?
  13. When Coraline finds her other father in the basement he tells her to flee (p. 112). When she refuses he turns on her, and tries to harm her. How does Coraline respond? What happens as a result?