The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (2013)
It was only a duck pond, out at the back of the farm. It wasn’t very big.
Note: There are some spoilers in this review!
When a man returns to his family home, he is caught up by memories of a period in his childhood when his family was threatened by a dark force but saved by the ageless girl who lived down the lane.
Neil Gaiman provides some beautiful imagery in this slight novel. His imagination is unique, and it is a pleasure to fill my mind’s eye with his bizarre creations. However, this is still a very slight novel, with not much of a plot, and it didn’t really satisfy me, like eating cake for dinner. This could almost be a children’s book, except for some brief adult content, and one very frightening scene when the boy’s father nearly drowns him in the bathtub. To me, though, it reads like a children’s fable, and I was left wanting something more substantial. Truthfully, I am surprised it is getting such high ratings.
Gaiman started out writing this book for his wife and intended it to be a novella. I think it still is a novella, for all intents and purposes, so keep that in mind when shelling out the $10 asking price (at least for the Kindle). Some of the events were drawn from memories of Gaiman’s childhood, such as the theft of the car and the thief’s subsequent suicide. All in all, this is a very childhood-nostalgic book.