The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

by Neil Gaiman

Ricki Brodie (07/16/13): It has been a long time since a read a fairy tale. The book is filled with mystery, fantasy, monsters and people and events that defy imagination. It is amazing. The main character and narrator is a fortysomething man who has returned to his hometown to attend a funeral. He is remembering himself at seven years old who seeks comfort in books (no one even came to his birthday party) and his kitten (who died). After the death of his family’s lodger, he meets a young girl, Lettie Hempstock who becomes his friend and savior, her mother and grandmother. They are ageless and not what they seem. They live next to a pond or an ocean, you decide, that may hold absolute knowledge and healing power.

The boy embarks on a journey with Lettie and becomes inextricably involved with old and powerful “monster.” Horrible things begin to happen. The monster evil, the only one of her kind in this world becomes his nanny and tormentor. The boy lives in sheer terror and misery. His family is taken in by the monster and cannot understand his warnings. Lettie, the boy and her family must send the evil monster back whence she came.

In the end, the world of children and fantasy is juxtaposed with the world of adults and order. When bad things happen in childhood what memories do we repress and reshape to make order out of them? Do they go and come with the tide?
Rating: *****

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