Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Yep.  I couldn’t help myself.  Another Neil Gaiman.  I told you after Neverwhere that I was addicted.  I wasn’t kidding, and I’ve got very good reason to be addicted.

This is a story about a man who returns to his hometown for a funeral and reflects on the strange things that happened when he was just seven years old.  A man’s suicide caused a series of dark and terrifying events.  Lettie, the mysterious and magical girl down the road, protects the boy in ways he still doesn’t fully understand.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a slim little volume that goes quickly, but I have the distinct feeling it would pass by quickly anyway.  It’s vivid and spellbinding.  Gaiman has a way of describing things that’s utterly simple and yet so thorough, whether it be a physical description or conveying how a character feels.

Something came through the woods above our heads.  I glanced up, saw something brown and furry, but flat, like a huge rug, flapping and curling at the edges, and, at the front of the rug, a mouth, filled with dozens of tiny sharp teeth, facing down.

It flapped and floated above us, and then it was gone.

“What was that?” I asked, my heart pounding so hard in my chest that I did not know if I would be able to stand again.

“Manta wolf,” said Lettie.

Throughout the entire book, I felt as though there was something so much bigger than myself, much bigger than any of us, something we could only know as children but have forgotten because of this terrible thing called growing up, and that maybe growing up was just our coping mechanism to help us deal with all the things we actually once knew.

At the end, as the main character is reflecting on his childhood memories and isn’t certain that he remembers it all correctly, I get the impression that this book is all about the way our memories work and how they change over time.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane gets five stars only because there aren’t any more to give it.  It was absolutely astounding.

* * *

Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Note:   I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.  I will always give you my honest opinion on something before linking to it.

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