Ocean at the End of the Lane
This novel follows a little boy who’s home is overtaken by a creature bent on making his life miserable while helping everyone else. He seeks help from the strange farm at the end of the lane with a pond that one of the residents, Lettie Hempstock, calls an ocean.
I was wary of this book initially. I had a bad reading experience with Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods,” so I worried this would be the same. But, I like Gaiman’s writing style enough to overlook my resistance and give it a go. I’m extremely glad I did. It is an amazing book.
Things I love: the descriptions, the imagery, the whole shebang. I like that the real world/fantasy world are so close together, like they can exist at the same time in the same place and our world still moves in the same way.
His characters are so vivid even with just minor description. I find them more in their habits and their words than the physical details, taking it from a sketch to a fully formed 3-D character walking around the page.
The voice is incredible, as well. I’m always blown away when I read a young character that feels 100% authentic in his thoughts and actions. Even more so because the narrator is retelling a childhood tale, so it’s a story from a young boy filtered through an adult brain (two if you count the author in there).
The ending was incredible, definitely heartbreaking but beautiful. It makes you think about the blank spaces and im/permanence of memories. It also has some great points about the adult/child dichotomy.
“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. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups.” (pg 112)
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