The Ocean at the End of the Lane
By Neil Gaiman
Published by Harper Collins
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.
Gaiman delivers exceptional fantasy. The harrowing experiences of a young boy take the reader on a dark and deep journey.
This is the story of a man recalling the unbelievable fears of a moment in his childhood, and the unforgettable girl who made him brave. This book was fascinating, as simply put as I can make it. Gaiman’s imagination of the world was so compelling, no matter how terrifying it was.
The story is told from the perspective of a young boy, and for the moments I was reading the story, I truly understood the boy. His thoughts, his fears, his comforts, were all perfectly projected through the story. It becomes easy to lose sense of your own adulthood, to wish for the reality of your childhood and have the ability to believe the things you know to exist, no matter how strange or even terrifying those things are.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane explores the limitations of existence and challenges the horizon point. The fragments of memory that get dismissed are brought to the forefront of our minds, and we are challenged to remember what we long forgot. In most cases, you might wonder if your memories are simply faded or if the monsters you remember came to you that after you went to the place with the orange sky.
I recommend this book for all readers. It’s a short book and a compelling read from start to finish. The fantasy is rich, the characters so real you could hold their hands. From the eyes of a child, with yourself at the center of the universe, you will experience fears that consume the mind, and then, bravery. The wonder never ends with Gaiman’s story. You’ll find yourself thinking about the book long after you’ve put it down.
I give The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman a five out of five stars