Book Review | The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Like what Neil Gaiman did to me with Neverwhere, American Gods and The Anansi Boys, he took me again to a strange world where even in my mind I never imagined I’d be lost into.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane begins when an unnamed middle-aged man went back home to Sussex in England to attend a funeral only to get drawn back to the Hempstock’s farm at the end of the lane where, when he was seven, he met an odd girl who’s called Lettie Hemptsock. As he sat by the pond in the farm, which Lettie calls her OCEAN, his very mysterious and frightening childhood comes flashing back: a man who committed suicide, the very-not-human Ursula Monkton and the Hempstock family’s lifestyle among other strange things.

This book is a quick-read: only 180 fanstastic pages written from the protagonist’s point of view. I wonder why it was categorized as an adult novel, when in fact it’s not adult-ish at all. It’s more like Coraline and The Graveyard book, very less like Endless Nights and American Gods where in the middle of reading you’d suddenly go “whoa, wait” when you get to a part when, say, a female organ swallowed a man. LOL, no. I think, though, that this book will entertain all ages. It is haunting, very beautifully-written, very Neil Gaiman.

The thing that I liked most about the story, aside from how it made me feel a lot of emotions while I was reading it, is that the boy protagonist was portrayed so much as someone who loves to read. “I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else,“ he says.“Books were safer than other people anyway.”

Here are other quotes from the book that I like:

I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.

Growing up, I took so many cues from books. They taught me most of what I knew about what people did, about how to behave. They were my teachers and my advisers.

Nobody looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody.

You don’t pass or fail at a being a person, dear.

Overall, I’d give three stars out of five for this book. This is not my favorite work of Gaiman, but I’m definitely going to read it over and over and over.

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