Oct 27, 2013
Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: William Morrow Books
Publication Date: June 18, 2013
Overall: 5 out 5 stars
Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.
A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.
I sat down to write this review and realized that there is no possible way that this review can encompass all that I love about this book. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a wonderful piece of writing. Calling it a literary masterpiece just seems trite and doesn’t fully encompass what I mean.
Neil Gaiman is brilliant as ALWAYS, and his young narrator drew me in with his matter-of-factness and self-induced solitary behavior. This young man had no friends, books were his refuge. And while part of me is sad and wishes he had friends, the other part of me remembers being age 7. At that age I didn’t care if I had friends or not. I wanted to be left alone with my books, they were my consolation for being that geeky, awkward child.
There were aspects to the book that I found sad and shocking. However, these are things that our narrator forgets because they were caused by Ursula. It also seemed out of character for his father to be so harsh, but again we’re seeing this through young eyes. Childhood isn’t perfect, it’s about teaching kids to be little grown-ups, and I feel like we do lose our imagination when we reach adult-hood. The Ocean at the End of the Lane ties in how life is viewed from both sides.
What I love about this book is that it takes all the magic and mystery of being a child and ties it back into being an adult. Everything that once seemed magical gets pushed aside for bigger concerns, like paying the bills, getting married, and raising the kids. People who say they don’t remember their childhood being magical must have had a very poor childhood. I remember exploring, playing make believe, and coming up with the best stories. That’s what this book gives you, the chance to remember those times fondly.
I can’t tell you what this book means, because it will mean something different to each person. It’s the beauty of the writing that it allows you to fill in the little spaces with pieces of yourself. This is a 5 out of 5 star book, and I’d probably give it 6 stars if I could. Please check this out, and get back a little of your childhood.
5/5 – MUST READ, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I did not receive monetary compensation from it.**
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