Sunday, February 16, 2014
Review of The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
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. (www.goodreads.com)
This was a great novel. It's quite short which is probably why is left such a good impression. The best way to describe this book, is that it's a children's book for adults. You get to marvel in the innocence and grandeur of the world when you were in elementary school and experience this through the eyes of a 7y old. I've read Gaiman before, but this is his best novel I've read so far. It's truly mesmerizing.
He explains in the beginning that it's a book about his childhood, the child you're following through this novel is based upon himself. We all have memories that seem too large for life, expanded from being not able to see everything in the right context. Someone we're scared of becomes a witch or a boogie man, something we can't explain becomes an adventure. What can I tell more? Read this little gem, it reads like a speed train and you'll be sorry when it's done but so much the richer for having read it and remembered some of your own adventures from way back then.
Personal score: 4 stars