"Take no heed of her...She reads a lot of books."
~Jasper Fforde

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman)

My Goodreads Review: Gripping, fantastic, a real page turner. This book is just one more reason why Neil Gaiman is absolutely amazing. Reading this transported me back to when I was a child. I felt as though this was one of those books I would have read as a kid (A Wrinkle in Time certainly came to mind more than once). The nostalgia and excited, childlike emotions flooded through me, and I felt like I did 10, 15 years ago, back before I felt the need to stop believing in dragons and monsters. It was a wonderful adventure.


Part of me keeps wondering why I didn't read this earlier.  I guess with so many other books piling up in front of me, some things just get lost in the shuffle.  Yes, I know it's Neil Gaiman, but...Okay, I have no excuse.  I put it in my library bag and it got buried.  Sue me.

But, honestly, this was an excellent read.  As a kid, I was quite a lot like the narrator.  I was quiet, kept mostly to myself, and I loved books more than just about everything else.  Plus, I had a super-vivid imagination.  There are of course differences (like I would never walk outside barefoot.  Ever.  Not since I burned my feet running across the sun-baked deck at my childhood home).  We didn't live on a farm, either, but we lived in a tiny development with woods at the end of my street.  I would always dream of having adventures in those woods.  All the  witches, bogeys, and spookables in my storybooks lived in there, just as all the heroes and adventurers surely journeyed across the fields on the other side of the fence surrounding our deck.

As I mentioned in my Goodreads review, this book brought me right back to my childhood.  Having a story told by an adult, through the eyes of a child was a great idea.  It reached me as I am now, a stupid, unimaginative "grownup" who no longer understands the ways of children.  And it not only reached me, but it pulled me back into those days when I believed in dragons and elves and Skirtingboard people (a tip of the hat to Jonathan L. Howard).  And that was pretty cool.

But, it wasn't like this book was all chocolate and rainbows.  No.  It was pretty creepy.  And it was really suspenseful.  There were several scenes that jump to mind as distinctly adult.  Not explicit, mind you, but this is certainly not the sort of book I would give to a child saying "Oh, this book reminded me of being a child, so you should read it, too, kiddo!"  You know what I mean?  It's still an adult book.

I'd recommend this to anyone who likes Fantasy, or has read and liked anything by Neil Gaiman.  He continues to be one of my favorite authors.  I also recommend it to anyone who wants to get a glimpse back to the mindset of childhood (especially if they were a kid like I was.  Those of you out there know who you are).


  1. Been there... read that! Discovered it on Goodreads, thank you very much! Really liked it and plan to read more of Neil's work.

    1. Oh, I'm so glad you liked it, Steven! Yes, you should definitely read more of his work. I'm personally a fan of his short story collection Smoke and Mirrors if you're looking for a place to start.


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