Book Review by Dinh
The story is set in Sussex, England. An older man returns to his childhood home town for a funeral. He goes down to a lane and he remembers when he was 7 years old and how he meet his friend Lettie Hempstock and how she protected and saved him from a strange monster.
Lettie Hempstock was a friend that protected him no matter what.
You will be in for a nice treat with this book. I have not read any of Neil Gaiman’s books and reading The Ocean at the End of The Lane was a lovely surprise.
I just love it when I find new authors (to me anyway) that just are unbelievably good.
British author Gaiman has written over 20 books and has received lots of literary honors including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards and Newbery and Carnegie medals.
I am excited to go and discover some of his other works and know that this is one author that I will definitely enjoy.
So what did I enjoy about this novel?
It’s an enchanting tale that sucked me right in from the beginning and made me turn page after page without stopping. It’s a short book with only 178 pages and it went too fast.
The book is written well so it was nice to enjoy reading a quality bit of fantasy. I do love it when I get a good fantasy book that is written well.
Too often I am disappointed with sci-fi/fantasy books are written. It’s usually not quality writing.
This is a beautiful written novel.
I love the story line. I was not aware of that it was a sci-fi/fantasy genre when I picked it up and it was a nice surprise to read it and enjoy it so much.
Gaiman’s story line reminds me a bit of Harry Potter in that the magical world is there if you know how to look. The boy’s world is changed when he meets Lettie who lives at the farm at the end of the lane.
The boy does not seem to be that surprised by the fantastical things that are happening and much of that is explained by him being 7 years old.
The younger we are the more innocent and therefore tend to accept things because we don’t know any better.
Moreover, the boy lives in books most of the time. Being an avid reader, his acceptance of the bizarre events does not shock him because of his big imagination.
The boy lives in the child like state where anything is possible. The adult world is removed from him.
I like how the story tied together. I was satisfied with the ending and liked that the story remained in my mind long after I finished the book.
I loved the characters Lettie, her mother and her mother’s mother. We don’t exactly know who they are except that they’ve been there for a long time.
Lettie is suppose to be 11ish though we don’t know how long she has been 11. And forget about how old her mother or grandmother is. They’ve been at the Hempstock farm since before Domesday (1086 AD).
The Hempstock are from a vague place that doesn’t have a name attached to it except that it’s far away. Lettie thinks that they came from the old country, her mother saying that the old country sunk and Old Mrs. Hempstock saying that the old country had blown up.
Another interesting character is Ursular Monkton- the housekeep who was a monster or thing that traveled to this world and opened a worm hole in the boy.
On one hand Ms. Monkton was a scary monster but on the other she was there to make people happy by giving them what they want. Was she bad really? Lettie didn’t seem to think so.
I liked the way how Ursula Monkton was explained by Lettie as a flea. Ursula Monkton was a bothersome flea.
So was there anything I didn’t like?
The only negative thing about the book is that I wanted more info. Some of the information was vague and unclear and I would have liked to have some definite answers.
The ocean is mentioned frequently to symbolize somewhere far away yet we don’t know how far away. Is it another land somewhere, another universe or what?
We know that Ursula Monkton traveled in a wormhole but from where?
I would have liked to have had more definite answers.
My Final Thoughts:
I have to be honest and say that I am impressed with Gaiman’s book. Having just finished ‘Ocean’ I am now looking into getting another book of his.
The Ocean at The End of The Lane is a superbly written fantasy novel that has a great story line and will get turning the pages. I highly recommend you to read it!
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Have you read this book or any of Neil Gaiman’s books? Which is his best? I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on The Ocean at the End of the Lane!