Coraline: Book VS Movie

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, is a fictional thriller, originally written as a novel, but later turned into a movie. The basic plot of the story is that a little girl named Coraline and her family move into a new house. Coraline finds a door in their new house that leads to a magical world where everything is perfect. Inside her perfect world, Coraline has ‘Other-Parents’ with sewn on button eyes. They try to convince Coraline to stay with them forever, on the condition that Coraline sews buttons into her eyes. This terrifies Coraline, who then tries to escape.

While I love both versions of the story, there are some major differences between the book and the movie.

Firstly, book Coraline’s parents are much nicer than they are in the movie. In the book, Coraline’s parents are stressed and tired. While they could have been nicer to their daughter, they were very busy and Coraline was being negative and bothersome. In the book, there is a very touching scene where Coraline tells The Cat about when her dad took her ‘adventuring’ and accidentally stepped on a wasp’s nest. Her dad took 39 stings to protect Coraline. So, in the book, Coraline’s parents are much nicer, and Coraline was mostly at fault. Throughout the book, she learns to appreciate her parents. In the movie, Coraline’s parents ignore Coraline and are unnecessarily snappish with her. In my opinion, the movie’s portrayal of Coraline’s parents makes more sense, because her parents’ unkindness is what drives Coraline to prefer the other world.

Secondly, in the book, Coraline visits the other world once and decides she doesn’t want to stay. In the movie, Coraline visits the other world three times before she decides to escape. Coraline in the book is very wary of other world and doesn’t trust her ‘Other Mother’. Movie Coraline was quick to accept the new world and wanted to stay there forever, until she learned that she would have to sew buttons on her eyes.

Thirdly, there is a character in the movie that was not present in the book. His name is Wybie, short for Wyborne. His grandmother’s sister was also taken by the Other Mother. Wybie finds a doll that looks exactly like Coraline, so he gives it to her. The doll was secretly a spy for the Other Mother, trying to find out what Coraline’s insecurities were to lure her to the other world. In the book, both the character Wybie and the doll he found did not exist.

There are many other small differences between the book and the movie (like Mr. Bobo AKA Bobinski, the singing rats, and Coraline’s blue hair), both the book and the movie were excellent. Would recommend!

Coraline by Neil Gaiman is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

3 thoughts on “Coraline: Book VS Movie

  1. I watched the movie Coraline and read the book as well! I loved your summary of it–great review! Personally, I liked the book better than the movie–what do you think?

    • That’s a hard question! I think I prefer the book as well; it has an extra element of creepy that the movie doesn’t have!

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