“I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children’s stories. They were better than that. They just were.”
I listened to this one on audio book, so Audible get’s the honors of the summary again 🙂
Sussex, England: A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. 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. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet sitting by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean), the unremembered past comes flooding back. 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. A stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.
I literally, like 30 seconds ago, started writing this sentence and realized the main character in this book is never given a name. I listened to this book for 7 hours over the course of several days and just realized that he doesn’t have a name. I think that sufficiently describes how good this book is. Should I just stop now? Do you even need to hear any more?
Alright, if you insist.
This is a very grown up story, told through the mind of a seven year old. And extremely clever seven year old, mind you. He has a strong love of reading and stories and fairy tales. When the man he calls the Opal Miner kills himself, the boys world is turned upside down. He meets Lettie, and her mother and grandmother, and he starts to realize that maybe wishing for a life like in his Narnia books may have been a mistake.
This book may seem on the surface like a whimsical children’s tale, but really it is anything but. There are extremely dark things that the boy has to go through, very grown up things. He experiences loss and disappointment, confusion and true fear.
I do realize that is vague, but I am really trying my best not to spoil anything. It’s hard.
For the first time in a Gaiman book, I think I enjoyed the human aspect of this more than the magical. Once again, he uses a fantasy world to tell a human story. He truly is a master at that in every book, and this one is no exception.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, or if your new to the blog, I can almost recommend a Gaiman book before even reading it at this point 🙂 If you are looking for a story a little more on the dark side, I would recommend this one first. If not, go check out the plethora of other Neil Gaiman reviews that I have been binge reading!
Also, check out my favorite quotes from this book here!