I have a literary confession to make: I have read precisely one Neil Gaiman book, and only because it was made into a movie. I’ve been brought under the impression that someone who fancies herself both a reader and a writer should have, at some point, read a couple of Neil Gaiman books, but to be perfectly honest none of them ever really appealed to me. I don’t know why, they just didn’t.
So it came to be that the first time I ever so much as picked up a Neil Gaiman book was when Coraline was first advertised as the newest 3D movie to be coming to theaters. I’m a sucker for kids movies (hey look, two confessions in one post!) and this one looked quite different and interesting, so I was moved to look up the book that it was based on. I grabbed a copy of Coraline and devoured it in one setting.
My favorite aspect of the book (and the movie) was the villain (are you starting to notice that I have a bit of a thing for villains?), the “Other” mother. Everyone in the “Other” world is a creepy duplicate with buttons where their eyes should be, and Other Mother is ruler of that land. She is (obviously) a duplicate of Coraline’s mother, and she’s a sneaky, creepy monster if ever there was one. At first Coraline adores her Other Mother because she gives her the love and attention that the girl feels like she’s not getting from her real mother, but as time goes on Coraline realizes that there’s something not quite right about this “Other” world, or the woman who seems to run it…especially when Other Mother reveals her intention to sew buttons onto Coraline’s eyes!
When I first came across the ads for the movie, and subsequently the book, I assumed that it was a kiddy-story, but I have to say that if I had read this story (or watched the movie) when I was a kid, I probably would have had nightmares for weeks. The story isn’t necessarily of the horror genre so much as a kind of fantasy, but Other Mother may just be one of the creepiest villains I’ve ever come across, the kind that gives you chills up your spine and makes you think twice about anyone who appears to be a little bit too nice. Definitely worth a read or a watch, trust me on this one.