-Pastor Melissa Fain-
Not all things that feel good are good.
Not all things that look beautiful are right.
When we watch Coraline it makes sense. As the movie progresses, we see the world decay around her. The Other Mother wants to eat her, not love her.
Neil Gaiman, the author of the book Coraline, is one of the authors I love. Don’t think that means I’ve read most of his books. I’ve read three: Coraline, Stardust, and Good Omens. I have a special super power that allows me to see the “trick” in other writers when I’ve read enough of their works. In that, every writer has his or her fingerprint. If I read enough of their material, I can begin to see where the story will go. I try my hardest to not get too invested in the writer, so I can keep the magic in the books I’ve already read.
Let’s just say, I’ve been writing fiction, and I want to have my books published. A good review from Neil Gaiman would make my decade. His world building is on point, and the conversational style of his characters is genius. He also is not afraid to write about powerful women who are not perfect. It is in the imperfections that the tension builds, and you get invested in the story.
Coraline is a girl who has normal girl thoughts. She was moved out to the middle of nowhere, and doesn’t see anything redeemable about her new situation. What she doesn’t realize is her new home is the consequence of her parents trying to create a better life for them all. Sometimes before things get better, they have to get worse first. You can’t explain that to a child.
That’s how the “Other Mother” picks her bait. She gives Coraline what she wants. She feeds her delicious food, puts her in a beautiful home, and gives her fantastical neighbors. This causes her to resent her real life, where she must make sacrifices she doesn’t understand.
People are not destroyed by outcomes. People are destroyed by the beautiful lies that lead to those outcomes. We buy into the lies all the time! We choose to believe things that sound too good to be true. Only, unlike Coraline, we can’t just walk away from those choices once we learn we’ve been tricked into making them. In real life, we often don’t find out we’ve been tricked into a bad decision until many years after the fact. The easy choice becomes the terrible outcome.
Anything worth having, is worth earning first. That’s actually what Coraline was missing. It didn’t matter if her situation was good or bad if she didn’t earn it, it didn’t mean anything to her. By the end of the book/movie, she saves her parents and her life. She appreciates where she is because it was hard earned, and hers.
Even though the reality wasn’t as pretty as the beautiful lie, it was the better choice all along.