Wednesday, 27 July 2016

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

 When a middle aged man returns back to his childhood town and to an old farm he once knew he is propelled into whirlwind of memories he had long forgotten from the year of his 7th birthday. He remembers meeting a girl older than him, perhaps of age 11, and her mother and grand mother. They lived on a farm which seemed normal at first but the way these three ladies spoke seems peculiar. They speak as if they've all lived far longer than their years and talk of things that can't possibly exist. Our unnamed protagonist is taken to a world unlike his own. After a series of strange events involving money mysteriously turning up in peoples hands, Lettie and The Boy go to track down who- or what- is doing this. In the other world they come across a strange creature made up of only fabric and sheets and Lettie warns it to stay away. 
However, The Boy accidentally lets this creature find a way into his real world and things take a disastrous turn...

If I could compliment just one side of this book it's how wonderful I think it is written. The words, the descriptions, the flow... it's very beautiful and despite how complex some bits can seem it's easy to follow and understand. I both listened to this book on audio and read it when I wasn't able to listen to the audio. I do recommend the audio- it is narrated by Neil Gaiman himself and I definitely like his voice and feel it had the right tone for this book. He made it sound so much more whimiscal than in my own head. He created voices and accents so well. I honestly enjoyed listening to this book as much as I did actually reading it.
The theme of the book isn't really something I would normally read- I have only ever read two other books similar to this and that is Howls Moving Castle and Gaiman's Coraline and I think this book has probably opened me up to read more stories of this nature. I'm not wholly sure what genre this would classed as- perhaps surrealism? Paranormal? I'm not sure.
I felt this book was quite similar in a sense to Coraline- the good versus evil, the supernatural, the unknown, the downright scary, the survival and being brave. All very similar. This book is more... magical... than Coraline however. And Coraline is more of a children's book and this one I feel is more of a multiple age group from age 16 and above. Maybe 14.
The only things that held the book back for me a little was that it would get a little bit repetitive and I think that was on purpose but I did start think 'yes.. I've read this line a few times before already...' and towards the end there was a bit more of this repetition going on. I felt the ending was very satisfactory- I know a lot of reviewers complained that the ending doesn't make sense of everything that's gone on but I think that would ruin it. It's not supposed to make sense it's supposed to be about this unknowable world, strange and almost magical and filled with wonders we can't possible understand.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars and if you think this may sound like something you would like, do read it. 


  1. I love Neil Gaiman's writing but I've not tried this book yet, lovely review. Thank you for sharing with #ReadWithMe

  2. You've ticked my tastebuds with this review Laura, and I don't normally do paranormal either! Thanks. #ReadWithMe