The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman | Reviewed by Michelle


TheOcean at the End of the Lane | Neil Gaiman | William Morrow | Pub: 6/18/13

“You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.”

This was my first Neil Gaiman book, and I really didn’t know what to expect. I had seen somewhere that this book was compared to Piranesi, which I enjoyed, but it was nothing like Piranesi.

This book starts with a middle-aged man going back to where he grew up to get away from a funeral. As he sits there, he remembers a time when he was seven and the little girl, Lettie, that lived at the end of the lane. The majority of the story is then him remembering his past.

At one point when he is with Lettie, they travel to another place that’s in our world but not in our world. After that visit is when things start to go all wrong for our main character. We don’t ever find out his name. There is one point where he mentions his nickname from his dad is little George or something like that, but it is never confirmed his name is George…

Anyway, things start to go all wrong and our little boy and Lettie and they must set it right. Lettie’s family isn’t an ordinary family though. I mean, I told you they go to a different world, well they can do magic of sorts and they have all been alive for a very long time.

The little boy’s past is absolutely creepy… the creature is the stuff of nightmares and the things the creature does made me want to vomit. But the story was also magical and whimsical and heartbreaking… I don’t know how else to describe it except by calling it hauntingly beautiful.

One of the things this book mentions is how two people can go through the exact same event, side by side, but neither will remember it exactly the same. That point really stuck out to me.

This was my first Gaiman book, but it surely won’t be my last. Any recommendations of books of his that I should read?

Synopsis (Credit: Goodreads)

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.

A groundbreaking work as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark, 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.

Includes bonus features: a meet with Neil Gaiman, a reading group guide, and an interview with Gaiman.

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