Book: October In The Chair (Coraline & Other Stories) Review

“My name is Dearly…”

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Surreal, Horror, Age: Children’s+

Released: 5th October 2009 (UK Version)

The months sit around a campfire and each tell a story. This time, October is in the chair, and his tale is cold and grim.

Donald, more popularly known as The Runt, is unloved by his family and runs away. Taking shelter near an abandoned village, he is woken in the middle of the night by a ghost, and shown the joys of being dead.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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A somewhat depressing story, this follows the boy’s life and progression, his unaccomplishments and competitiveness with his older twin brothers, who are good-looking and popular.

The ghost he meets has left the tediousness of human life behind, and without hesitation, The Runt follows his example.

At one point, I really thought that adults would step in here and maybe the police would find him, or his parents would rescue him. Instead, the Runt commits suicide.

Apart from the morbid topic, the story is written well. The Runt is a simplified caricature of everyone’s fears and the actions that they could potentially have taken. It’s a negative feeling story, and not so much sad as bitterly acute.

At the end, the months are depressed by October’s story, and they break up for the night.

Overall, children’s suicide is not what I expected to come across in an anthology that’s side-by-side with Coraline, but Gaiman writes well. It’s worth checking out, even if for the strange plot.

Rated – 2/5 Story within a story. Bitter take on children’s suicide.

*Covers made by me, for illustrative purposes only.

See other stories in this anthology!

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