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I've heard about Neil Gaiman. It's hard not to hear about someone who has been writing books since before you were born and has a handful of popular movies to throw in too. But for whatever reason, I've managed not to read a single one of his books until this past year. Let me tell you, I've been missing out on so much!!!
I'm don't remember how The Ocean At The End Of The Lane ended up on my list, but this post should be how it ends up on yours. No really, add it to your list! What, me just saying you should isn't enough? Fair enough, let's talk about why I loved it.
First, it turns out I really like Neil Gaiman's writing style. He has this wonderful way of drawing you in without giving everything away. Reading one of his stories is like going on a walk through an ancient Roman city. The roads draw you in effortlessly - you want to know what's around the next corner, but you're enjoying the journey just as well - and the further in you go the more clearly you see the shape of things. But there's still enough room for imagination, enough space to envision the children who ran through the squares and the parents who chased them.
I don't like books that keep so much mystery that you never really feel like you know what's going on. Gaiman's books strike the perfect balance for my taste, and that certainly applies to The Ocean At The End Of The Lane.
So now that you know how I feel about the writing, let's talk about the story! It follows a man who, on a visit to his childhood home, remembers a remarkable experience from his past. But even though the story revolves around this man, it's not really about him. It's about 3 strong, capable women. A grandmother, mother and daughter who are so much more than they appear.
I love the interaction between the generation in this story, the love, the sacrifice, the kindness that these women display as they go through life. They make mistakes, but they aren't crippled by them. They simply acknowledge them and work to fix them in the best way they can. That's beautiful. It's how I want to live my life.
I don't think it's totally out of line to say that the books we love are often the books that, to some degree, paint a picture of who we want to be. It's why we love stories of adventure, of justice, of strength. And it's probably why I love The Ocean At The End Of The Lane. The lyrical sentences form a surreal tale that sticks with me because it reminds me of who I'm becoming.
Let's sum things up!
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fiction, fantasy. It's a little bit fairytale, a little bit dreamy, a little bit dark but not enough to give you nightmares.
Length: 181 pages - I spread this book out over 3 nights of before-bed reading, but quick readers could finish it in a day.
Age: Adults, but I probably would have enjoyed this as a teen too.
Should you read it?: Yes! (Unless you don't like Neil Gaiman.)
If you're interested in a print, you can find one in the shop by clicking here! If you think you'd like to read The Ocean at the End of the Lane, look for it at your local library or find it on Amazon by clicking below.