Book Title/Author: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Publisher/Year: June 18th 2013 by William Morrow Books (first published January 1st 2013)
Genre: fantasy, adult fiction, paranormal
“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 Laneis 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)
This was my first Neil Gaiman book, and it certainly will not be the last! Some of Neil Gaiman’s works, I understand are meant (or at least, advertised) toward a child audience, this however is not the case with The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It is written in a way that makes you feel like you’re a child experiencing the book’s strange events along with the child narrator, but there are adult themes present (e.g. adultery, sex) — so I do not recommend reading to kids.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is hauntingly nostalgic, making you remember about your childhood and fears: where monsters and things that go bump in the night really did seem real, not not just make-believe.
The narrative was by far the best part: had my sympathy and interest from start to finish. The childish lack of understanding of adult behaviour and and fear of the adult world had me hooked — not to mention the mysterious Lettie Hempstock.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a compelling and addictive tale – – one that could easily be read in just one or two sittings. And it sticks with you, you’ll be thinking about it long after you’ve finished reading it.
“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else”
“Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”
“I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children’s stories. They were better than that. They just were.”
“Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren’t.”
“As we age, we become our parents; live long enough and we see faces repeat in time.”