Author – Laura
As a huge fan of Neil Gaiman’s work I was expecting to love this. And it really didn’t disappoint.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane reads like a dark fairytale, but you don’t get that feeling straight away. It starts with a sad but nostalgic trip down memory lane, or in this case the lane that goes past Caraway Farm, through the Hempstock land and down to the duckpond. Or was it the sea? Who can remember…
“Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet, but they are never lost for good.”
The story centers around our narrator, who discovers a dead man in a car. This gruesome discovery begins a chain of extraordinary, and sometimes terrible, events that pull you in, make you feel safe, then chew up your insides and spit you back out again.
“Whatever’s happening,” she said, eventually, “it can all be sorted out.” She saw the expression on my face then, worried. Scared even.
And she said, “After pancakes.”
Its hard to get across how this book made me feel, especially without dropping a clanger of a spoiler 😯. I just loved it. It’s written from a young boy’s perspective but doesn’t feel childish. There is darkness and creepiness – the stuff of your worst childhood nightmares; but with the inclusion of characters like the Hempstocks you are reminded that there is still warmth and hope in the world, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
The story is short (232 pages) but any more might have felt like padding. I think this is a beautiful read for a quiet afternoon when you can really give it your full attention. Because it totally deserves it.