Monday, April 14, 2014

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

Man, how do I even describe The Ocean at the End of the Lane? lol Just like most of Neil Gaiman's books, this one is incredibly imaginative, which makes it very difficult to describe to others unless you are familiar with his work. This book was most similar to his book Coraline in the aspect that it is told through the eyes of a 7 year old and it involves a sort of monster.

The book begins with a man attending a funeral in his childhood hometown. He decides to visit the home of his childhood friend, Lettie Hempstock, at the end of his lane and ends up remembering the adventure they had together. It all started when an opal miner who was renting a room in his house steals their car and commits suicide through monoxide poisoning. He unintentionally gambled away not just his own money, but a lot of money that his friends had given to him to bank for them, so he took his own life. After this, other strange things start happening with the narrator and other members of the town. Something starts giving them money - a very old entity living in the woods around the Hempstock's property. The Hempstocks are no ordinary family, consisting of Lettie along with her mother and grandmother. They are some type of beings that are in contact with other worlds of sorts (I know that is seriously the worst description, lol). Lettie takes the narrator on a journey to find the monster and make it stop, but while trying to bind the monster in its place something goes wrong and the entity comes home with the boy. The next day, his mother informs him that a new renter will be living there named Ursula Monkton - she will be watching the narrator and his sister in exchange for her room and board while his parents work. Ursula Monkton is the monster incarnate.

The narrator goes through a pretty chilling ordeal with this monster, but the Hempstocks help him get rid of her, at a great expense to themselves. In the end, the much older narrator is surprised that he did not remember this before, only to be told that he shows up every so often, remembers, then leaves forgetting again - all because that's the way the Hempstocks want it to be.

While written through the eyes of a 7 year old, this book is not a written for children. That's not to say that it's trashy, but there are a few minor scenes that make it more "adult." Plus it's just really creepy, lol. I really did enjoy this story. It's just so creative - like Neil Gaiman's other stories it transports you into a completely different world that coexists with our own. You really never know what is going to happen next, so you just keep reading. It's very well written and I love his children's perspective on the things around him. I also loved this quote:
"I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things, or people, or moments that hurt, but I found joy in the things that made me happy."
What a great way to describe being a kid :) If you enjoy being transported into a completely different type of existence, then you should read this book. It was a quick read, a wonderful escape, and very entertaining. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for joining in the conversation!