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.
“ 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.” – Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
I would love to write a really long-winded review of this book… but I just can’t. I loved it. I loved it. This book is haunting, beautiful, and full of nostalgia. It sums up all the good feelings of childhood perfectly.
This is a relatively short book.. only 181 pages (I think). It’s short, sweet, magical, and more importantly – real.
“You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear” – Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
This is the fourth Neil Gaiman book I’ve read and honestly I wasn’t disappointed. To be honest, when I first read this book I had no idea why it was published in the adult genre. It’s so small and such an easy read but there’s nothing in the book that focuses on any sexual content, violence, or gore.. then I realized that’s not what was important. It’s not an adult book for face value – but to really appreciate the book you must be an adult by experience. You can’t appreciate this book unless you truly know why you miss childhood. I’m getting there – but I know that my love for this book with only grow with age.
This is definitely one of those love/hate books I think. Not because there’s anything wrong with the story or the writing or anything like that. It’s just wishy washy with readers because it’s deeper than face value. An ocean is as big as it needs to be. If you can’t appreciate the story, revisit it once you’ve gotten rid of all of the preconceived notions you may have about the author and the types of books he writes, and read it for the deeper meaning. If you can’t do that? Don’t bother picking up this book.