July 31

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Review #15. Have I got a long way to go to reach 104!

9781472200327This book was released last month with an absolute mountain of rave reviews. I was very happy to unwrap my copy, soon after release, but had to finish a massive fantasy tome before I could get started. But, let me warn you, once you begin this one, you will not want to put it aside for anything.

After returning home for a family funeral, our narrator drives past his old home and on down a lane where he remembers that his friend Lettie once lived. There he sits by the duckpond and remembers an event from his childhood and the three mysterious women who helped him. He hasn’t thought of this place in years, but now the memories flood back…

As a seven year old, he knew something was wrong. When Lettie went to sort it out, he went with her, more afraid of waiting alone than of what he might see. That was his first mistake. And Lettie warned him to keep hold of her hand. But he only let go for a second. A second is all it took to put that hole in his foot. That hole that wasn’t a hole, but a home. Then the new housekeeper/nanny arrived, but no one could see what he could see.

Gaiman has written a real treasure here. All tied up in mythology and folklore, this book will surely touch something deep in the reader’s psyche. The language is simple, the point of view uncomplicated, and therein lies the power of the story. This child witnessed unspeakable evil, and the forces gathered against it. He seems to be caught up in a modern fairytale, and all the horror and fear involved.

Is this a book for adults or children? The language is simple and easily understood. However, just like the old stories, it is filled with horror and terror. But I found that as I was reading, I tapped into my childhood reading style, remembering how to get swept up in the story and simply enjoy the experience.