Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane written by Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fiction – Fantasy
Page count: 259
Rating – 4/5
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. (Goodreads)
Welcome to first book review of 2015! Since I am super sick I stayed in bed all day, drank orange juice, napped and read. I rarely, if ever, get to do this so I decided to take advantage of it and get a good start to my reading year. I decided to start by reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane because I have been wanting to read this book for awhile and before I start I have to admit that this is my first time reading a Neil Gaiman book ever! I know, I know this is an awful revelation but I am promising to myself and to you to read more of his work this year, and I’m pretty excited about that promise!
This story is about a man who returns to his childhood home in the wake of a funeral. While he sits next to the pond that holds his delicate childhood memories within it, he starts to remember the memories that have eluded him in his adult life and we are taken through his memories of the girl and the ocean at the end of the lane
The only reason why I didn’t give this book a full five star rating is because I found it to be a bit confusing in some parts but that confusion was much overshadowed by the beauty of this book. I loved it. I loved the language used and the magical feel of it. I am so in love with early Irish literature, or actually any type of early literature, and this story felt in the same vein as much early literature. The story wasn’t anything like what I had expected it to be which ended up being a good thing. I can definitely tell that Neil Gaiman is a master storyteller…he has that rare gift where he can pick you up out of your ordinary life and transport you into the extraordinary. I felt that in reading this book.
One of the things that really stuck with me about this book is it’s approach to childhood and the fact that every adult has a child within them. I loved when childhood and adulthood were contrasted in this quote: “Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.” It really reminded me to let my inner child out more. But my favorite quote, which I swear will be etched into my tombstone one day, was “I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else”.
If you have read this book, let me know your thoughts…Did you love it? Did you hate it? If you haven’t read it, I would recommend giving it a read. It’s a light read in length but hefty in depth.