Tuesday, July 19, 2016

G727 Book Review of the ocean at the end of lane by Neil Gaiman

Name of Book: The Ocean at the end of the lane

Author: Neil Gaiman

ISBN: 978-0-06-225566-2

Publisher: William Morrow

Type of book: science fiction/fantasy, childish, whimsical, England, 1970s?, memories, Lettie Hempstock, farm, ocean, pond, old country, struggle, parental abuse, worms, magic

Year it was published: 2013


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.


The main characters included an unnamed male narrator who seems to be naive when it comes to supernatural in life and also determined and obedient. In the story he is aged seven. There is also Lettie, a mysterious eleven-year-old girl who lives with her mother and grandmother. She is also obedient, loyal and is willing to go above and beyond to do what she can for the narrator. Ursula Monkton is a mysterious bad luck woman who tries to do good but can't and she is also determined to punish the male narrator for knowing about her.


Past is what you make of it


The story is in the first person narrative from a man's point of view.(Can't recall his name, sorry to say, and can't find it in the book.) As a middle-aged man he goes to a funeral and then he visits the Hempstock farm and the history of his childhood and how the Hempstocks were involved in his life comes back to him. The man becomes a child and its completely from his point of view, which means a child is narrating the story. I like when things are explained to me in the story and when they make sense, but in this story, the things I desired to understand weren't explained, and I grew more and more frustrated as the story moved on and I felt lost. Also as well, I felt a strange distance between the characters which makes it difficult to like or relate to the characters.

Author Information:
(From back of book)

Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, and Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett) the Sandman series of graphic novels; the story collections Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things; and coeditor (with Al Sarrantonio( of the fiction anthonogly Stories. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy Awards, and the Newbery Medal. Originally from England, he now lives in America


Prior to this book, I've never picked up or read Neil Gaiman's stories. Long time ago, I did try watching Coraline when I was babysitting, and yes, it is a film I want to watch fully. But other than that, I didn't get a chance to read and review his works. I jumped at the chance to read this book mainly because the cover is amazing. Reading the book, however, turned out to be less than stellar experience. The story was too strange and scattered for my tastes and its best described as minimalist. Although it wasn't suited towards my tastes, there are some positive aspects of the book that caused me to understand why Neil Gaiman is very popular. One of the strengths of the book is the character's point of view, and that its left up to the reader to understand and fill in the blanks about the mysterious Hempstock family, which is different than the books that spell everything out in details.

This is for Pump Up Your Book Tours

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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