The Ocean at the End of the Lane


Beyond Blueberry Girl (which my three-year-old requests near nightly), I had never read Neil Gaiman until Tuesday, when I was at the library and happened to pick up Smoke and Mirrors and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I started reading Smoke and Mirrors, which is a collection of short stories, and was obsessed with his writing by the time I’d finished the introduction. He’s a fantastic writer, and I love the way he blends realism and magic. After making my way through about half the short stories, I started reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I shouldn’t be reading it—I’ve been working on The Boys in the Boat for my book club (and it is fantastic, but I can only read about rowing so long)—but I couldn’t help it. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is the story of a man who returns to his old neighborhood in Sussex, England, for a funeral, and finds himself drawn to a pond at the neighbor’s farm at the end of the lane—a farm that the 11-year-old girl, Lettie Hempstock, insisted was an ocean. It’s (as I’m learning) typical Neil Gaiman, full of magical realism, and I devoured the book in two days. The narrator notes, at one point, that adult books are boring, that they take too long to get started, and it made me realize that that’s what I love about the young adult genre—books usually get to the action pretty quickly—and that’s one of the things that makes this book great. Gaiman certainly could have rambled on (we never even learn whose funeral the narrator’s at or very much at all about his life 40 years after most of the story’s events at age 7), but it’s actually fairly succinct, which also makes it impossible to put down. Anyway, so glad I have finally branched beyond Blueberry Girl (though also a great read for little girls!) and I can’t wait to read more of Gaiman’s writing soon.


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