Author: Neil Gaiman
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; Hardcover
More Details: Fantasy; Horror
Publisher/Publication Date: William Morrow Books; June 18, 2013
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Synopsis from Goodreads...
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.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a story about a middle-aged man recounting memories of his childhood from a time when he was about seven. I didn’t realize at first that the character remained nameless throughout the whole story, and looking back, I didn’t carefully read the synopsis. However, the main character not having a name didn’t bother me in the slightest, due in part to the writing, which was excellent. There was a somber tone to much of the story, because the pivotal events were always somewhat sad and definitely frightening. It was a story about memories, and there was horror and fantasy.
I think my main problem with this one was parts of the story itself. Given that the events are being recounted by the character when he’s older—and how short the book was—the stakes in the story sometimes seemed low. Because I always knew, in the back of my mind, that everything would turn out okay.
Other than that, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was an interesting tale. I liked it, and I will likely read other books by Gaiman in the future.