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The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel
A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman’s first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.
This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real...
Blood and gore, a suddenly absent mother, an unexpectedly monstrous dad, actual monsters, and even a little bit of sex, but somehow this book still reads like a tender fairy tale. Like any good fairy tale, its surface layer is a straightforward lesson. Simply taken, “Children, do what you’re told (don’t let go of Lettie’s hand).” Dig deeper, though. There’s so much more to contemplate. What does it mean to leave childhood behind? To love? To have a hole in your heart that leaves you restless and yearning for another place? I enjoyed OCEAN on all levels and was a little sad to depart its terrifying and magical universe.
The things I liked about this story:
1. The writing. Nicely done.
2. With the right discussion questions I think there is going to be some very interesting discussions that go along with this book, as there are some very interesting points sprinkled in the book.
3. The view from the seven year old perspective for much of the story.
Some things I did not like so much:
1. The view from the seven year old perspective for much of the story.
I know I just said that I liked it, but I both liked and disliked that. Mr. Gaiman does a good job of writing from the seven year old perspective… so I kind of wish he just wrote a children's book. Primarily that is how this book read to me - as a kids book. A good kids book at that, but a kids book. With a wild imagination that kids could really get into… but as an adult, well… it was little too over the top fantasy for me. Totally reminded me of, "Something Wicked This Way Comes." Which I also read as an adult, and did not enjoy so much. But even though I think this whole book would be a fascinating read for a kid, there is one scene that is included which makes me say, "Don't have your kids read this!" It is not gratuitous, but that is just NOT the kind of book discussion I would be looking for from this book.
If I was the editor: I would reframe this as a kid's book. Just tame down that one scene and you have a better market for the book. (Love the book cover though.)
By Forrest Leo