Monday, October 7, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Title:  The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author:  Neil Gaiman
Publication Information:  HarperCollins Publishers Inc. 2013. 182 pages.

Book Source:  I read this book because I have seen so much publicity about this author's work but never read anything by him.

Favorite Quote:  "Different people remember things differently, and you'll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not.  You stand two of you lot next to each other, and you could be continents away for all it means anything."

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is pure fantasy. The author intended for it be a short story, but the story evolved into a novel. The book pulls the reader into its world and does not let go.

A man returns to the place of his childhood for a funeral and takes a trip down memory lane. His home is no longer there, but he visits a neighbor's home - the family of a childhood friend. From there, the story is a reflection back into his childhood.

He grew up on a farm with his parents and sister. A lonely quiet seven year old boy. His family struggles with money. He becomes friendly with a young girl, Lettie, who lives with her grandmother and mother at the end of the lane.

From there, the story draws the reader into a world of creatures from another world, of good and evil, of friendship and sacrifice. There are allusions to traditions honoring women, mythology, and mysticism. Fantasy creeps into reality and leaves you wondering what is read. The tale is a dark one, but the ultimate message is about friendship and childhood memories.

This is a short book and a very quick read. What I love about this book is how visual it is. It feels like watching a story unfold not just reading one. I also enjoy the fact that it leaves you wondering what to believe. The boy in this book is a reader and his words describe this book for me:  "I liked myths. They weren't adult stories and they weren't children's stories. They were better than that. They just were."

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