I didn’t know what I was getting myself in to when I ordered The Ocean at the end of the lane, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it. I’ve been told by friends/family for years now to read Neil Gaiman’s books, but never really found the time, nor want, to do it. I was a fool, and you are too if you haven’t read The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
Summary: A man leaves a funeral, and finds himself drawn back to the places of his childhood. He stumbles across a home he barely remembers, and encounters a whole part of his life he has somehow forgot. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is about the horrors of childhood, nostalgia, and the consequences of believing in the unbelievable.
My Favorite Quote: ““Oh, monsters are scared’, said Lettie. ‘And as for grown-ups…’ She stopped talking, rubbed her freckled nose with a finger. Then, ‘I’m going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.’.”
Let me just start this review by saying how much I LOVE mythology. It’s the one subject that has kept me interested since I was a little girl. My love started with Greek/Roman mythology, and over the years has expanded to the lore of my mother’s home, Ireland. The Ocean at the End of the Lane delves into the triple Goddess lore (Mother, Maiden, Crone)–and I freaking couldn’t believe how well done it was!
As a little kid, I believed in fairies, mermaids, and magic. I believed so deeply in this other world, that I thought I could see it– be a part of it. In my backyard there was a bush/tree in the left hand corner that I used to sit under, when there weren’t hornets swarming around it, and pretend that it was a fairy hole. One that followed my mother from Ireland and would transport me back if I wished hard enough. It never did, but the feeling that I used to get under that bush, that feeling of something otherworldly, and mystical never left me. Some part of me still believes that there’s something else out there, and if I could just let go, I would be able to see it. The Ocean at The End of the Lane describes that feeling, or rather belief, so much better than I can, and reminded me of my childhood spent dreaming about the other world.
Usually it’s the characters of a book that draw me into the world built by the author, but in this book it was the story that I just fell head-over-heels in love with. There were moments that had me wanting to throw the book across the room, because I didn’t want to know what happens, and then on the next page I was ready to tear out the pages in order to show the characters their wrongdoings.
That’s not to say that the characters in The Ocean at the End of the Lane aren’t interesting as well. The main character is the boy, but Little Lettie Hempstock, the boy’s childhood friend, was my favorite. She reminds me of friends I had as a kid, who were fearless and charged headfirst into battle. She was the girl I always wanted to be. To me, Lettie is the heart of this book, and without her I wouldn’t have loved it as much as I did.
I don’t remember the last time a book scared me without making me want to put it away and never touch it again. The horrors and atrocities that the little boy encounters in The Ocean at the End of the Lane are so very real, and mystical at the same time. The scene with the bath tub haunted me for a few days after reading it. I could feel the boy’s surprise and anger towards his father, and that impacted me in a strange way. You never expect the people you love to try and hurt you, and so when that happened it took me back to times when I was hurt by the people I trusted most.
The main baddie of the story was the most terrifying villain I’ve encountered in a very long time. She was ferocious, manipulative, and just plain horrible. There were no redeeming qualities about her, and the way Gaiman wrote her was nothing short of perfection. He evoked such strong feelings of anger and fear in me whilst I was reading. I wanted to jump into the book and battle her along side Lettie and the boy. I don’t remember the last time a book made me feel like that.
I usually like to spread out my reading, but with The Ocean at the End of the Lane I just couldn’t convince myself to put the book down. I needed to know what happened, and that’s the best thing I can say about a book: I never wanted it to end.
But, sadly it did end, and now I can’t wait to read another book by Neil Gaiman (Specifically his new book Norse Mythology).
What about the ocean? Well, you’ll just have to read to find out.
Read any good books lately? Recommend me some in the comment section!