Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.
A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Laneis told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.
What I Thought of The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Neil Gaiman has once again completely and utterly rocked my world with his fantastical tales. I’ve never read a Gaiman book I didn’t love, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane is no exception. In this story he weaves a tale filled with heartwarming connection and horrifying characters, and sucks you into a world so elegantly thought up that you start to wonder if it does indeed exist in the mists of England somewhere, and if he’s really been there.
I had the hardest time putting this book down and caught myself up late too many times reading it, and trying to fit a chapter into even the smallest amounts of free time just so I could immerse myself back into the story for a moment. This was definitely one of those books that when you put it down and the story has ended you miss it, like you’ve lost a best friend.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
“I’m going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either.”
“I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I found joy in the things that made me happy.”