Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Ocean

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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.”

Oh my goodness what a read! I was lucky enough to meet Gaiman during the release of this book and hear him read a section of it. (swoon) I’ve read a few of Gaiman’s books when I was in England and this latest novella doesn’t disappoint from his earlier works. 

In the beginning the story is charming. After a few chapters the fun gets going and then before the reader expects it, the end is near. The heart is strong with this one. Readers must not be afraid of a few cracks once they reach the final pages. 

The simplistic fantasy elements, the knowledge that magic is sometimes there and sometimes not, the use of carefully repetitive language that’s comforting to children are just a few of the elements that make this book a must read. I personally favored the English colloquialisms. But the imagery of the farmhouse, the countryside and the character’s families are also stunning. The story it must like it’s title. It may be a small book, but the story is as wide as the ocean it’s named of. 

I loved it. Gaiman’s style and flow of blending reality with mythical is like a cherished friend. I know I can count on his books for a fun time, and yet he’ll also challenge me too. I wish I had seen Lettie when I was in Sussex. Perhaps I did. Perfect for any and all readers, I highly recommend you get the closest copy and dive in! 

 

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