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Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

November 18, 2019

About the Book:

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond this world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defence is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

My thoughts:

Fairytale or horror story? One and the same, right? Neil Gaiman knows how to tell a story. This is a tale of creep, scare, shadows, death and a childhood lost. Of the monsters in the shadows and the monsters in the people around us. And of lost and found memories. What makes us what we are? What makes the magic in the people around us? And what happens when we do not do as we are told. When the monsters escape the world of nightmares and follow you home and use your family to get to you… Simply because they don’t want to go back. Of monsters who only want to give people what they want.

Told as a memory, this story is a journey through a moment in time, a man’s childhood once forgotten now remembered. Of the moment he stopped being a child. And of the moment the world stopped being safe. Of a little boy dealing with death and along the way also dealing with the horror of monsters who want his life, his family and his friendship destroyed. It’s also a story about loss. Of friendship. Of trust. Of fear. And of the tiny mistakes that escalate into huge problems and the amazingly magical friendships that can save you.

It’s a story of nightmares. And of an extraordinary girl, and her mother and grandmother who live at the bottom of the lane, and of their magical ocean.

One little step can lead to another and another and you can end up in a place you never imagined. Where you must rely on someone to save you. Who wants to save you. Especially when you are a seven year old boy confronted with nightmares made real. This is a tale that takes you from a sense of reality to a terrible fantasy as easily as breathing. Or of taking one step after another.

I think everyone should read it.

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