Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Report Monday: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis: 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.

(from Goodreads)

Why did I pick it up?:  If you don't know that I heart Neil Gaiman, well now you know.

Doesn't the cover remind you of Imaginary Girls

Favorite Line: "Books are safer than other people anyway."

I'm sure there were other gems but I only made note of that one.

My Review: Gaiman delivers another fantastic adventure. My only complaint is that it was so short. It wasn't too short though. The story was complete and I didn't need more, but I wanted more. I wanted to know more about Lettie and her mysterious past. Along with her mother and grandmother, Lettie Hempstock knows about the magical world and the creatures that sneak across the border separating it from our world. Lettie is far wiser and tougher than her physical appearance would lead people to believe. She protects the young protagonist who is pulled into the dark happenings when a dead man is found in his family's car. As a 7-year old boy, he looks up to Lettie who is older than he is and who has such a no-nonsense way of explaining the magical that can't help but be believed.

Childhood memories often seem surreal to us as adults. Partially do to the fact that we didn't fully understand what was happening at the time. However, time also has a way of erasing some events and highlighting others in our memories. I've confused realities of childhood with dreams I had as a child. What do you mean there was never a tornado at the playground?!

I've had arguments with my sisters over which one of us slammed their hand in the station wagon door or left a hot dog to burn on the stove. Each of us swearing we had done it as if time had fossilized the painful, embarrassing moment into a prized artifact we'd all like to claim. This book will leave you wondering what events you've excavated poorly or perhaps buried altogether.

My Recommendation: Perfect for any fantasy or magical realism fan. I personally think this would be a fabulous rainy day and pot of tea book.

For Next Time: Gold by Chris Cleave


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