# of pages: 162
Total pages: 7,391
Avg pages/book: 321.35
Ahh! My pages-per-book number is dying!!!
As usual, Gaiman crafts a really creative tale of dark fantasy, this time targeted for younger readers. The book actually had all the qualities of a classic Roald Dahl tale, only much darker. (And I realize that Roald could get kinda creepy, but he never had, say, three hollowed-out children whose souls had been slowly eaten away and were now locked in a closet) Your protagonist is an adventurous youngster with busy parents, constantly misunderstood and underappreciated by the adults in her life, who finds a magical world behind a magic door. Said child eventually has to save the day by rescuing her parent and defeating an evil witch-like entity. It's definitely a winning formula.
At times, Coraline reads like a ghost story, like a haunted house on steroids. When I was a kid, I remember the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series of books were quite popular with my classmates. Similarly, my friends and I loved to watch Are You Afraid of the Dark? on Nickelodeon. Looking back, some of those stories were downright creepy, and it just never bothered me at that age. I think Coraline fits into that category. I'm not sure why kids (say, 10-14 or so) have such an appetite for the supernaturally spooky, but my guess is I'd have been less creeped out by Gaiman's Coraline at age twelve than I was at age twenty-seven.
That said, it's definitely a reminder that I want to be reading what my kid is reading as he grows up, so we can discuss things like Coraline to make sure we're developing a nice healthy appetite for fantasy, keeping things like good and evil in perspective, and not just fostering nightmare fodder. :-)