The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Neil Gaiman

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.

A groundbreaking work from a master, 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. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark. 

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) This was my first book by Gaiman. His writing is beautiful. I listened to the audiobook because I saw it was him reading it. When an author reads their own book, it definitely brings something special.

I listened to this book, expecting a literary masterpiece. What it really was, was a story about a young boy and some events that took place. I did not expect the fantasy element. I wondered if it was a dream? Or a memory that was exaggerated by a young mind? I’m still not sure. I’m not sure who Lettie was and more importantly, what she was. These elements left me with too many questions.

Overall, the writing carried it well. It made me think on my childhood. What did I remember and how accurate was it? Are adults blind or naive to the world as children see it? Or do adults choose not to see the world as they do? I believe Gaiman wanted to place these thoughts into us and make us mull them over until we spit out something beautiful and unique. I suppose I might be one of those adults who can’t quite grasp the childhood brain as I once did. For me, the book left me with too many questions. I wanted more info, more backstory and more knowledge into their lives.

The content was very minimal. There is a sex scene, that could’ve been left out, but a boy sees, and doesn’t quite understand so it’s somewhat vague from his point of view. If it wasn’t for that, it could be labeled as a spooky junior fiction book.

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