The Ocean at the End of the Lane

By: Neil Gaiman

A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home after attending a funeral in the hopes of finding peace and comfort where he grew up. However, when he arrives at the location of what was once his family’s house, there is nothing comforting waiting for him. The only other place he knows he can go and find familiarity is the small farm down the lane, which was once the home of his childhood friend, Lettie Hempstock.

As he sits by the pond in the back of the old Hempstock farmhouse, memories resurface of events long forgotten. The wonderful and terrifying truths of the unseen world flood back to him as he recalls the bazaar experiences of his early life. He also knows that while everything that happened to him was real, no one would ever believe it.

This recent reading experience is exactly why I want other people to recommend books to me. My friend, Trish, and I went on a wonderful adventure to my local Barnes & Noble where we explored the racks of countless books and discussed those stories that we loved, liked, and loathed.

She knows that I am a huge Stephen King fan and recommended The Ocean at the End of the Lane to me when we passed by Neil Gaiman’s books. Given she was going to read The Green Mile per my recommendation (and loved it by the way), I was easily swayed. She enjoyed my pick and I enjoyed hers. Happiness really can come simply from having bookish friends!

Anyway, this is exactly the kind of story I was looking to sink my teeth into after my two previously disappointing reads. This story was short, fast, and colorful. I can’t recall ever having read a novel before where the main character is never named. Funny thing is, I didn’t even realize it until I was done with the book. I was so focused on Lettie and her family that I completely overlooked that rather large detail. I’m giddy just thinking about that. I mean seriously, how well does an author have to write for a reader to not notice the main character doesn’t have a name? Neil Gaiman did a fine job and I’m glad that this was my introduction to his work.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a novel where the beginning and the end tie nicely together bringing the story full-circle. Honestly, the ending broke my heart and I wished that I could have had more time with the characters. The world was so magical that I was immediately sucked in. I delayed finishing the novel because I wanted to savor it a little while longer than intended.

What a perfect book to kick-off the Halloween mood. Highly recommend.

Overall rating: 5

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