Book: The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Mystery, Supernatural
Description from Barnes & Noble:
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 where she once lived, 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.
I like to describe this book as a mixture of Steven King and Tuck Everlasting. (Trust me, that will make total sense once you read the book.)
As I recall, the narrator in this book is never named, so I will call him simply “Boy-hero”. 😉 I thought Boy-hero was very well written. He is definitely a seven-year old who comes across as a seven-year old. However, he’s also smart and observant and a character that you truly come to appreciate. Side note: Yes, the main protagonist is a child, but this is NOT a children’s book. Don’t give this to your kids unless you want them to have nightmares.
His friend, Lettie, and her family are fascinating. Their lifestyle and mindset are so intriguing and different. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just say that I would love to see more stories featuring the Hempstock family.
The villain in this book was very well done. It was difficult to tell exactly who was being affected by it and what would happen to our poor Boy-hero next. It did get a tad over the top towards the end, but that only enhanced my excitement. It also got a bit confusing towards the end, because we were seeing it through the eyes of Boy-hero and…well, this is a no spoilers blog, so we’ll just say it gets a little jumbley.
The main problem I had with this book was that it was short. The version I read was only around 180 pages. This makes sense, since the author originally wrote it as a short story. But I REALLY wanted to know what happened to Lettie and would have LOVED this book to be longer.
Overall, this was a very good book. Though the story-line with Boy-hero is pretty much covered in this book, I would love to see some sort of “sequel/prequel” thing that talks about the Hempstock family. Get too it , Mr. Gaiman! 🙂
Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbit
The Talisman – Stephen King & Peter Straub