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.
(Story synopsis from goodreads.com)
Lately when I’ve finished a book that I already have and I want to read one that I don’t have yet, but don’t want to wait to get it, I’ve been using an app called OverDrive that is linked to my library card. It is through this app that I can “check out” books that I have on my “to read” list. Thanks to this app I was able to check out The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. (I’m telling you, if you have a library card, this is a great way to utilize it – especially if you are traveling or on vacation and need a book to read, but don’t want to buy one in the gift shop or at an airport.)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane was definitely a change of pace from having just read All the Light We Cannot See (check out my review of that novel here). Neil Gaiman‘s novel is a great escape from the reality as we know it. I must say that I was not expecting the story that I read, but it was definitely a fun one if you like a bit of fantasy mixed into your storyline. The great part is that I was not expecting the bit of fantasy and “magic” in the book, but it seemed like such a natural part of the story.
Another thing that I found really great about the The Ocean at the End of the Lane was how the story was being told; we get the memories of a middle-aged man who is telling the events as they happen to his 7-year-old self. As a young boy, he was small and kept to himself and his books with very few friends. He did end up finding a true friend in Lettie, who was very special in her own way, and lived with her mother and grandmother. When strange things start happening in their neighborhood, he has not trouble believing them because everything he has read in his books has made his mind open to so many “unbelievable” things. It is his new friend Lettie who tells him that she will keep him safe “no matter what.” And it is this promise that she is able to keep with a surprising outcome.”
The story of the man is really intriguing throughout The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but towards the end (not a spoiler), we find out that there are so many things that the man does not actually remember. This left me with a sense of wonder as to what else we could find out about him, and if we ever will find out if Lettie will come back from her own trip (again, not a spoiler). But I think those unknowns can only be answered by Neil Gaiman and if this is a story that he will continue to tell…maybe from a different perspective? Like Lettie’s? Or could we get an earlier tale from Lettie’s grandmother?
(Disclaimer: I do NOT get any compensation for the reviews I do or the mention of any websites, apps, etc. in any of my posts. Everything I have written is my own opinion based on my own experiences.)