BOOK: The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
AUTHOR(S): Neil Gaiman.
GENRE: Fantasy. Surrealism. Magical realism.
PUBLISHER: William Morrow.
DATE READ: 02/05/2017-02/08/2017.
LENGTH: 178 pages.
PERSONAL RATING: 3/5
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 where she once lived, 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.
THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
I have been struggling to write this review because I honestly don’t know what to say about this book. It was, above all things, better than the other two (one and a half?) books that I’ve read by Gaiman in the past, but I still do not understand why everyone adores his writing so much. Perhaps I’m missing something blindly obvious and valuable in it, but I just don’t care much for his writing.
Part of the issue I had with this book is that I had absolutely no connection to any of the characters. I didn’t care at all about who they were, what they were going through, or what might happen to them. I also really, really did not like the whole worm-in-the-foot thing; it freaked me out so much more than I had expected anything in this book to.
I felt that the concept was pretty interesting, but Gaiman’s writing left me feeling confused more often than not. Was that his intent? I’m honestly not sure, but I felt like there was no real solid ground to grasp onto with this. It felt like he expected us to understand the world these characters were in and the magic that the women were able to do but gave us no way to understand that.
But I will say that even if I don’t particularly care for his writing style, or this book, he did do a wonderful job describing certain things and painting some images in my head. For that, I give it a wobbly three stars.