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Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

"Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences."

This was the one quote that really made me stop reading the novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by author Neil Gaiman and really consider all the profound truth that may lie within the simple quote. It is very true and it takes the imagination of a child to really appreciate all the things that Neil brings to life in this one. An adult would try to reason there way through this, while a child would just accept what is happening and move forward without needing to know why.

In this dark, fairy tale story, monsters are really and the things you think are real, really are. In fact I am reminded of Tim Burton's movies as I read through this one. At first, it doesn't make a lot of sense much like a child explaining something out of the ordinary. You just need to stop over analyzing it and just take it as face value and continue to dig deeper.

In this one the narrator, who's name I don't believe is ever mention is remembering back to a childhood experience that happened to him when he was only seven. Now much older he has returned to the place when the horror began and where the nightmare was something he truly lived and not dreamed. It begins with the death of the boy's only companion, a kitten that was accidentally run over and killed by their border, an Opal Miner who thinks simply replacing the cat will appease the damage he has done. This is the beginning of a not so happy story. Much like A Series of Unfortunate Events, Neil Gaiman takes his much deeper and to a darker place where evil now has an open door into the current world in which to find a foothold in solving what people believe makes them happy. To do so, requires a bit of finesse, but one our character can see through.

It's when he follows his father one morning when their car is reported missing that he discovers the body of the Opal Miner in the car and thus introduces us to the women in the Hempstock household who have the uncanny ability to solve things that no one else can see. He is soon befriended by Lettie, an eleven year old girl who has been eleven for quite some time and has a prophetic vision to what is really happening in town. Lettie and her family live at the end of the lane and care for the boy until his father comes calling for him. Soon he finds out that Lettie and her family have far more powers than he could ever imagine and thus the novel turns into a darker more menacing version of Alice in Wonderland meets Bridge to Terabithia.

I received The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable one. This is not recommended for young teens and falls in the upper young adult category to be age appropriate. I would have to say the writers ability to pull off an exceptional fantasy tale with a dark twist is wonderful and I'd rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars. It is a surprisingly thin novel that draws out the story to feel like you've read a whole lot more pages than you did, a mark of an exceptional writer. I look forward to reading more from this author and fully enjoyed his unique writing style. This is the very same author who wrote Coraline, so you can prepare yourself for what you are about to find inside.

For more information about The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman, or where to pick up a copy of this novel, please click on the links below:

You can also find Neil Gaiman on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest novels.

You can also visit his website by clicking here.
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062255657
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062255655
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1 inches 
You can find this novel at your local book retailer in paperback, audio, hardcover and eBook formats

1 comment:

  1. Here is a marvelous fantasy that is entirely satisfying -- even though it leaves enough to your imagination and makes you want more.
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