Review – “The Ocean at the End of The Lane” by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman is my third book by the author. And although I had said that despite finding his books good I am not falling into the trap of comfort reading, I think I might have to modify my statement now. I do like Gaiman’s work and I am not going to stop until I’ve read all his books. He is going to become my next comfort author.
This one was a-thought of buy for me. With so many titles available, it was this that caught my fancy. Following the tale of an unnamed narrator who returns to his childhood house after a long time and finds himself reflecting back on the events that happened decades ago and which changed his life forever, this story seems simple on the first look but is much more than that once you start going deeper into it.

We make pilgrimage to the landmarks of our childhood, in vain, to revive somehow the magic and wonder of youth

Lettie Hempstock was wise beyond her age and went too early. Sitting in the backyard and looking out into the pond, or as she called her The Ocean wasn’t easy. Memories came flooding back to him. It all started on the day that man chose their car to commit suicide and nothing was ever the same again. He met Lettie and her family, mother, and grandmother, and then he met the monster that would tear apart his family and life irreversibly under that orange sky.

Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but aren’t.

Gaiman has a separate genre of himself if that is what his books can be categorized into. This one is for adults who never stopped being a child because there really aren’t any adults in this world, right? An amalgamation of dark humor and fantasy coupled with the worldly reality told in a witty narrative is what this book is about. The interesting premise here is that people will be people, and they will be selfish and that the real monsters are the ones that dwell inside us. An encounter with the sinister could tear your life apart and make you realize that adults aren’t always there to protect you, they aren’t even good at dealing with their own shit!
In this book, I met a child who is lonely in his family of four, I met a family who welcomed a stranger in on their secret life, I met a friend who would lay her life in line to save you, I met an adult who would forget about his savior until he was taken back into the past by the view of a physical reminder, I met a father whose desires are more important than his children, I met a mother who is helpless at saving her family, and I met a dark force that feeds off humans.
What is all this? Magic? Fantasy? I don’t know. I don’t think any words will do justice to this book. It is supposed to be read and felt, however many hours or days or years it takes. It is much deeper than what meets the eye. Read this book, take your time to accept it, and keep visiting when you think you need a dash of magic in your own reality.

Nobody actually looks like what they really are on the inside.


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