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

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman / My rating: ★★★★☆

One sentence summary: A little boy encounters darkness and a pond-sized ocean on his neighbor Lettie Hempstock’s farm.

I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled.

Genre: Contemporary/Fantasy

Plot: Interesting. Engrossing. I was never quite sure where it was going, and it turned out much creepier than I expected; it was the epitome of a child – or adult’s- nightmare. The story begins as the memory of a middle aged man, looking back on a time in his childhood when he met a strange neighbor girl who lived down the lane, Lettie Hempstock. The story is nostalgic, warm, scary, strange and safe in a way only a child can experience something that doesn’t make sense. It’s a journey of how a child experiences fear – and the world.

Characters: The bookish, quiet, brave seven year old boy felt much like a classic Gaiman character, and I liked reading the story through his eyes. He was likable; he was sweet with his kittens and his faith in his strange neighbor, Lettie Hempstock. I loved Lettie and her mother and grandmother- Gaiman creates characters that are just so strange and comfortable. Except, of course, Ursula Monkton.

Writing: I loved the atmosphere Gaiman created with his words. It was eerie and dreary and overcast. Quiet, old, and warmly nostalgic. I love Gaiman’s writing, it’s fantastical and comfortable. Also, he writes wonderful descriptions of food.

Was I satisfied? Yes. I only gave it four stars because the fantasy did feel a little…vague. It was believable, and it fit well with the story, but I simply didn’t get that monumental feeling of a five star book. I did very much enjoy it, though. It was a good rainy day read.

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