The Ocean at the End of the Lane | Neil Gaiman (Book Review)


Paperback, 195 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published June 18th 2013)
Original Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
ISBN: 0062255665 (ISBN13: 9780062255662)
Edition Language: English
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.
My first introduction to Neil Gaiman was through the first episode of Doctor Who that he wrote. He wrote and episode called The Doctor’s Wife and it was absolutely brilliant. It was spooky, witty, and heartfelt all at once. Turns out that most of Gaiman’s writing can be described as such.

I’ve acquired a few of his books since learning about him but this one had been sitting on my shelf for over a year. Turns out I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. Not only is it an incredibly easy and quick read (I read it in a 24 hour period) it’s completely captivating.

The story is mystical and magical and nothing at all what I was expecting. I don’t really even know what I was expecting out of this book but it was so much better. It’s filled with life and excitement and will keep you turning the page even if it means staying up long after you said you would turn out the lights.

This book is filled with friendship, love, death, and monsters. I wasn’t expecting the book to be as dark and haunting as it is. The theme of lost innocence and being trapped by evil runs rampant throughout the novel but it lends itself perfectly to the story. It will make you stop and think about how the world around you can change at the drop of a hat. Things aren’t always what they seem, people aren’t who you really think, and what are you to do then? Sinister themes aside though, it’s not all doom and gloom. There is a hopefulness and whimsy to it that can only come when you’re able to see the ocean inside of the pond.

The world’s that Gaiman creates are unlike any other and you find yourself fully immersed in them. It’s almost impossible to not feel like they are real. This book could best be described as a fantasy or even a fairytale for adults but it’s also so much more. Gaiman truly is in a class of his own when it comes to his novels.

“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.”

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